From: Derrick Coffee
County officer, Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex, Mayfield Place
Re: ‘Bus Lanes Work’. In reply to Geoffrey McCallum and Dr Gordon Taylor in Herald ;etters of December 22.
The service between Hailsham, Polegate and Eastbourne will be both faster – with newer buses - and will run at more frequent intervals if the bus lanes are introduced. This will benefit bus passengers beyond Hailsham too. That is our (and the county council’s) understanding of the stated intentions of Stagecoach.
Evidently, in other parts of East Sussex, bus lanes work: Between 2007 and 2017, following installation of the bus lanes, daily traffic on the A259 between Newhaven and Brighton fell from 28,000 to 23,000 per day. In the same 10 year period, weekly bus trips rose from 73,000 to 122,000 on this 8 mile stretch – the same distance as Hailsham - Eastbourne.
This has been great for bus passengers, and residents en route, all of whom will have experienced better journeys and air quality - plus a few welcome chinks in the wall of traffic. Local tradespeople will have found it easier to take their vans with specialist equipment to jobs.
Traffic reduction will have made walking and cycling less daunting too. In addition, this trend in less reliance on the car for short trips will have a discernible health benefit for all in the short, medium and long term, especially for the young over a lifetime. This will help sreduce pressure on the NHS. The figures quoted above are from a joint local authority study examining the possible effects of future developments on the A259. One result will hopefully be to appreciate the benefits of planning new developments so they can be walkable, cycleable and easily served by public transport. That’s healthy, sustainable and unfortunately not always true of recent developments north of Eastbourne.