Bus cuts could be looming as decision nears

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County Council officers are hell-bent on pushing through bus cuts when the Cabinet meets to decide next Tuesday claim campaigners.

Love Your Bus campaign spokesman Chris Smith said: “Despite a vote by the full East Sussex County Council against making bus cuts and despite thousands of people replying to a council survey who opposed the cuts, council officials are telling the council’s cabinet to make nearly all the cuts it originally proposed.

He says the proposals will affect 2.7 million journeys a year either by huge fare rises of 30% or by radical cuts in services, or both.

Towns like Hastings and Lewes will be worse affected but the group says there are also harsh cuts for Battle and Heathfield. Some rural areas will lose nearly all their buses.

Mr Smith said: “Across the county 12% of all households have no access to a car at all, and many more do not have access to one during the day while the driver is at work, but this is apparently not a problem.

“Even though many respondents to the survey pointed out that people no longer work 9-5 Monday to Friday, officials will only recommend keeping buses for people travelling to work to those hours, perhaps because that is the hours that they work.

“Officials say that the survey of users, which indicated huge opposition to the changes, only indicates “demand rather than need”. This may be because the survey asked about demand rather than need.

The cuts are being strongly proposed by Rye Parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen who said: ““These bus cuts will hit our most vulnerable sections of society hardest, and this is where the economic and social damage to our county is seen with stark clarity. The rural services in villages is where we have some of our highest pockets of elderly residents – their bus is their lifeline to the outside world and for many, it is their only option.

“I used to work as a care assistant and I know from experience that if they lose the bus, their world shrinks.”