By Liam Dawes
A Conservative MP has branded a bus service “inadequate” and called for improvements from Brighton and Hove City Council.
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, has issued the plea after discovering that 90 per cent of residents in Lower Bevendean, Brighton stated they felt the 49A service in the area was below par.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Mr MPD.
The service is operated by Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, who recently implemented their latest price hike which saw the price of a one-day Saver ticket hit £4 for the first time.
Commenting on his website, Mr Kirby said: “Many people rely on the bus to get them to school, college or work on time and currently the unreliability of the service means people are frequently late.
“Therefore I have called on Brighton and Hove City Council to improve the service for residents of Bevendean, and to consider introducing a shuttle service for the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean area, as desired by many residents.”
An independent survey into the running of the 49A service one Monday showed the scale of the problem.
Of the 12 monitored services, only two ran at the advertised time, with the 12.28pm service running eleven minutes early.
Just after 12.20pm, an elderly couple arrived at the stop next to Bodiam Close, unaware that their journey into the city centre had already disappeared into the distance.
One disgruntled resident, of Auckland Drive commented: “The service has been shocking for years now. Time after time, buses either leave way too early, arrive considerably late, or simply don’t turn up at all.
“If things don’t change soon, we are going to have a situation where elderly and disabled passengers are stuck outside for long periods of time in arctic conditions with no way of getting anywhere.”
Brighton and Hove City Council has stated that they will be working on specifications for replacement services over the next few months, with contracts for existing services set to expire in September 2012.
Mike Best, Operations Manager for Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company said: “The geography of Bevendean makes the area hard to serve as it is a ‘dead end place’.
“We would like to increase services so that they run more frequently than every 20 minutes in the future.”
He added: “We are wary of introducing a shuttle service to the area as this would leave people having to cross the busy Lewes Road when getting off a 25 service.
“Customers will also then have to wait for two buses when travelling to or from the city centre.”
Mr Best also stated that new bus shelters are to be installed at Bevendean stops thanks to funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
These are due to be installed at Kenilworth Road, Bodiam Avenue, Leybourne Road and Heath Hill Lodge stops in the next few weeks.
Mr Best also stated that real time information signs in the area were a “possibility” at some stage during 2012.