Our Saturday independent columnist, Observer, fails to raise a cheer for Uckfield’s Bus Surgery Day.
Regular readers of this column will know I advocate more bus use as part of an integrated transport plan to ease congestion and pollution from cars throughout Uckfield.
On that basis, you might expect me to applaud a ‘Bus Surgery Day’ held yesterday.
It was billed in a press release from Wealden District Council as a way to “help improve local [bus] services”.
Many would welcome an input, but who do the organisers think will attend at a daytime event on a working day?
East Sussex County Council
Not going get to many working people there, are you?
Then, I read, that one of the supporters of the event was East Sussex County Council (source: Wealden District Council news release).
Frankly, East Sussex County Council should have been in the stocks at this event for the way it has failed bus services in the county.
They have cut support, cut, and cut again, admittedly against a backdrop of a worsening financial crisis at county hall, but to come out and sing the praises of buses is a bit rich.
Transplant needed – not surgery
Undoubtedly this event was well intentioned but public transport needs more than a “surgery”.
Bus services need a major transplant to make them attractive to users: meaning they run frequently and serve all areas.
Brighton and Hoves Buses have it right.
Its frequent Brighton to Tunbridge Wells services through Uckfield are well used.
That’s because they are reliable and you don’t have to wait long for a bus.
Country services poor
Services out “into the sticks” are abysmal.
This website reported this week of yet another reduction.
And the oddest thing about this bus surgery day?
It was held at the railway station . . . I can see why, more central, more prominent but that tells us a story about the location of Uckfield’s bus station.
Buses seen as ‘for the poor’
Buses are seen by too many people, especially outside of London and the big cities, as second-class, second-rate and only for the elderly, students and the poor.
The Wealden MP, Nus Ghani, who is a transport minister, was listed in the same Wealden DC press release as the event “opener”.
She should use her position to make bus transport much more desirable, more effective, more joined up with the railway and more “in vogue”.
In addition, our Wealden MP should push the case for positive intervention to support bus services and communities.
Invest in public transport
Building new roads, improving roads is always seen as an investment.
Spending on sustaining the bus network and railway (think Uckfield – Lewes) is aways seen as something to be regarded with great suspicion. More’s the pity.
The vast majority of us need our cars at some point in any week but the more we can do to reduce car use will reduce congestion, reduce pollution.
Plea to Wealden MP
Come on, Nus, secure some government investment in public transport for this little part of the world.
We are literally choking on cars – the fumes and the numbers.
Traffic lights this week on the by-pass caused a seizure in Uckfield town centre.
How much more evidence is needed?
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