FRAMFIELD PARISH COUNCIL


ENCOMPASSING FRAMFIELD, BLACKBOYS
AND PALEHOUSE COMMON

Photo by Richard Brocklebank
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Photos by Richard Brocklebank

 

Bus Services - 231 and 31

Services from 20th February 2017

Seaford & District have now been contracted to provide a revised service 231 on Mondays to Fridays. However, the service 231 four return journeys on Saturdays will no longer run. Compass Travel will also continue as the operator of service 31. The changes are summarised below.

Service 231 between Hurst Green, Etchingham, Burwash, Heathfield, Blackboys, Framfield and Uckfield:

  • The current timetable will continue until 19 February, after which the following changes will be made.
  • The four return journeys on Saturdays will no longer be provided. This is due to the relatively low number of service users and the high cost to East Sussex County Council.
  • On Mondays to Fridays most of the current journeys will continue to be provided, including the hourly weekday service between Heathfield and Uckfield.
  • The service between Heathfield and Etchingham Station will continue on five days a week, with a small number of changes. Most daytime journeys will run around 10 minutes earlier than at present which will assist customers from the east of Heathfield in making connections to service 51 to Eastbourne. This will also provide daytime connections in Uckfield with service 31 to Haywards Heath.
  • Service 231 will not serve Hurst Green apart from the morning and afternoon Heathfield Community College journeys. The current 17:50 journey from Uckfield to Etchingham Station will terminate at Heathfield and the 18:33 from Etchingham to Heathfield will be withdrawn. These changes are due to the very low use being made of these journeys.
  • The current 16:50 journey from Uckfield to Etchingham Station will run 15 minutes later so as to provide a last departure from Heathfield to the easterly direction at 17:27.  
  • Despite the very low use made of the current journeys serving Etchingham Station, the new service will continue to offer train connections. This will include buses for the 07:31 and 08:42 trains to London and the 11:30, 13:30, 16:35 and 17:56 arrivals from London. Connections are also available to and from some Hastings trains.

Service 31 between Uckfield, Maresfield, Newick, North Chailey, Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath and Lindfield will continue almost unchanged:

  • Compass Travel’s new timetable, introduced in January, will continue.
  • The 431 schooldays service from Newick to Uckfield will not change for the time being, but we will be looking to find a lower cost solution due to the high cost of providing the addition bus to cater for pupils attending Uckfield Community Technology College. Any changes made will be undertaken in consultation with the school.

To provide the 231 service on Saturdays this would have cost a further £15,500 per annum. West Sussex County Council are also funding part of service 31. A fares increase in the region of 10p per single journey will be implemented to keep the additional subsidy costs to this level.

Local communities are asked to support the bus service by using it as much as possible. The level of patronage will be monitored over the next 12 months, particularly given the low level of daytime use over the section of route between Heathfield, Burwash and Etchingham Station. If use of the service does not improve, further changes may be necessary to ensure value for money.


Update – 20 December 2016 - Information about the 231 bus Service from East Sussex County Council

The 231 bus service runs between Hurst Green, Etchingham, Burwash, Heathfield, Blackboys, Framfield and Uckfield and the 31 bus service runs between Uckfield, Maresfield, Piltdown, Newick, North Chailey, Scaynes Hill, Northlands Wood and Haywards Heath.

Seaford & District are currently providing the 231 service as a sub-contractor to Compass Travel whilst Compass Travel have continued to operate the 31 themselves.

Compass Travel have informed East Sussex County Council of their decision to cease operation of both services. The reason is that the amount of fares income and, in the case of the 231, funding for the service, is not sufficient to cover the cost of operation.

ESCC have had discussions with Seaford and District about them taking over the 231 service in their own right, with the same level of funding support as provided to Compass Travel and previously theSussexBus.com. However, Seaford and District have now also stated that the combined income from passengers and the County Council is too low. Clearly it is disappointing that the level of use being made of the 231 remains low despite the efforts made to improve the frequency and provide new journey opportunities.

Please be assured that we working hard to find a solution to ensure that as comprehensive a service as possible continues within the level of funding that can be provided by the County Council. In the case of the 31, we are liaising closely with colleagues at West Sussex County Council.  Whilst the 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.

There will be a further update once ESCC have news about any changes, which are likely to take place from 5th February.  In the meantime, there will be some changes to the 31 from 9 January and details will be included in a forthcoming bulletin of service changes.