East Sussex County Council Cabinet members have decided to consult on drastic cuts proposed for rural bus routes. Their plans include reducing daily village bus services to a mere twice weekly instead of daily, and higher bus fares.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre has frequently criticised the council for failing to opt in to national initiatives including grants to improve road junctions, reducing fuel costs by using electric or hybrid vehicles, as well as ignoring local proposals to synchronise bus and train timetables at stations like Cooksbridge to reduce the number of car journeys and relieve pressure on car parks, such as the one at Lewes station.
Cllr St Pierre says: “Rural life has changed significantly, many people are now forced to work outside the 9am to 5pm routine. Current estimates suggest rural families are now £5,000 per year worse off than those living in towns, partly because of transport costs.
“Vulnerable people, the sick and elderly not only face rural isolation, but also serious obstacles travelling for doctors and hospital appointments. This proposed reduction in rural bus services will have a further, very severe impact on people.”
Norman Baker MP added: “This very week East Sussex County Council is cutting home-to-school transport services, creating problems for pupils travelling in rural areas to schools such as Chailey, Lewes Priory and others. Furthermore, the effect on small to medium businesses makes the Council’s boast that they support East Sussex business sound hollow.”