Update on Friday, January 27, 2017: The future of Uckfield bus routes 31 and 231 has been secured.
East Sussex County Council has announced that it, and West Sussex County Council, are providing funding for replacement arrangements for the vast majority of current users.
The council says Service 31 is unchanged, however the 231 service will be revised from Monday, February 20. From that date the Saturday service will be withdrawn and some changes made on Mondays to Fridays.
The announcement follows a worrying time for bus users after Compass Travel decided to pull out of one service and was reviewing the other.
Seaford and District which ran the 231 service as a sub-contractor for Compass Travel has now been awarded that contract by the county council.
Follow this link to see the new timetable for the 231 service.
From our original story on January 4: Bus users in the Uckfield area face a worrying time with operator Compass Travel pulling out of one service altogether and reviewing another.
A lack of passengers is blamed. The changes begin next Monday (January 9).
East Sussex County Council is working on ways to continue offering as “comprehensive service as possible”.
Restructure to make network viable
Compass announced on its website that it will be introducing revised timetables for routes it took over from Sussex Bus.
Managing director, Chris Chatfield, said: “Over recent weeks we have been carrying out a full review of these bus routes and we are now restructuring the network to make it viable and easier to understand.
“Whilst it has been necessary to withdraw or reduce some loss making services, there are also improved timetables and extra journeys on other routes.”
Compass said the No 31 will run between Lindfield, Haywards Heath and Uckfield – generally hourly. There are new early morning and evening “commuter” journeys between North Chailey, Northlands Wood and Haywards Heath.
Route 31 under review
It added: “Route 31 is currently under review and maybe withdrawn after 4th February 2017.
“Route 231 between Uckfield, Heathfield and Hurst Green will no longer be operated by Compass Travel.”
Seaford & District is currently providing the 231 service as a sub-contractor to Compass Travel – this service is subsidised by the county council.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Compass Travel has informed the county council of its decision to stop operating the 31 and 231 bus services, which it says are no longer commercially viable due to low passenger numbers.
County trying to find solutions
“It is disappointing that despite efforts to improve the frequency of the services, particularly in the case of the subsidised 231, more people are not choosing to use them.
“We are working hard to find a solution for both services, which will allow us to continue offering a comprehensive services as possible within the level of funding that can be provided by the county council.
Joint action with West Sussex County Council
“In the case of the number 31, we are working with West Sussex County Council.
“While a future service may not be as comprehensive as the current provision, it will provide for most current users including school children, shoppers and those with medical appointments.
“We will publicise any changes to services as soon as details are confirmed.”
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