The recent tragic bus collision in North Street, Brighton, following an unfortunate crash with a car in Avis Road, Newhaven, has highlighted in my mind the increased pressures felt by Brighton and Hove bus drivers who operate most of the services using the main highways in the coastal area.
I have recently had some frankly alarming journeys on the 28/9 route to Tunbridge Wells using the notorious A26, and also on the 12/12X services operating into Eastbourne. In all cases the buses were being driven at points close to their maximum (I understand) of 55mph where a limiter should cut in. None of the buses – bother single and double-decker – were fitted with seatbelts, and on the few services I have been on where the vehicles were so fitted, there was never any instruction to use them.
The effects of the illness suffered by the driver in North Street had he been operating on the 28/9 route or on the 12X express service does not bear thinking about. With the advent of free bus travel for older people, passenger injuries from a serious accident could be fatal; the loadings on the 12X route last Saturday afternoon were such that several passengers were forced to stand for the journey, something that apparently the new ‘Coaster’ fleet has been deliberately designed to encourage, with their wider passageways.
I appeal to the new MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, to consider this when she tries to get better rail services back for the Lewes area; trains have a fantastic record of passenger safety in recent years and the reintroduction of rail services directly from Brighton and Eastbourne via Uckfield to the Tunbridge Wells area, would avoid the kind of pressures on staff that accelerated bus services are bound to lead to. I would rather travel in comfort by train than be bucketed along dangerous roads by drivers desperate to adhere to tight bus schedules.
Ringmer Road, Seaford
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