Anger mounts as bus cut deadline looms ever closer

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Bus users across the Rye and Battle area are being urged to register objections before a consultation on proposed bus cuts ends.

The drastic cuts, outlined by East Sussex County Council, would affect many rural routes and wipe out some evening and weekend services.

People have until Sunday September 28 to voice their opposition before a 12 week consultation period comes to a close.

Rye MP Amber Rudd and Labour candidate Sarah Owen have both voiced their opposition to the cuts.

Sarah Owen said: “Shift workers, elderly residents and tourists rely on a sevenday service.

“We live in an area of the South East that has comparably low car ownership. The County Council do not seem to appreciate how this will affect vulnerable and elderly residents.

“If you cannot get around and visit people, your support network will invariably diminish. Isolation is an inevitability. It’s short-sighted to cut off a lifeline for so many people.

“ The County Council need to show some business sense and leadership by going back and renegotiating routes with bus companies - they’ve clearly failed to do this so far.”

A Lewes based bus campaign group claims it has uncovered a “bizarre labyrinth of funding where bus services are threatened because money is being wasted and misdirected.”

Spokesman Chris Smith said: “The government is funding the provision of Wifi on rural bus services, but East Sussex County Council wants to cut most rural bus services, partly because the government has abolished rural bus grants.”

The council says the proposed changes would allow it to save £1.79 million over two years, part of a drive to achieve savings necessitated by cuts in Government funding.

Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “We have had a big response to the consultation so far and, understandably, it’s an issue which has provoked some strong feelings.

“However, the important thing to stress is that we have not, and will not, make any decision until we are able to fully take into account people’s views on the proposals and how they will affect their lives.

“I’d strongly urge anyone who may be affected by or who would like to comment on the proposals to do so before September 28.”

Paper copies of the consultation survey are available in all East Sussex libraries, on some bus services and in council-run buildings, or can be requested by calling 0345 6080194 or emailing busconsultations@eastsussex.gov.uk

People can also give their comments by writing to Bus changes, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, Lewes, BN7 1BR or completing the online comments form at https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk.