Brighton Bus Occupancy and Benefits of an extra bus service

MR.Vivian Carrickvjcarrick made this Freedom of Information request to East Sussex County Council

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MR.Vivian Carrickvjcarrick

Dear East Sussex County Council,

Background

Your officers' recommendation in a recent planning application accepted that an additional peak hour bus service on A259 West of Newhaven would result in 50 peak hour car drivers switching to bus services.

As current peak hour Bus Occupancy is fewer than 28 passengers per bus, it is hard to understand why an extra bus would attract almost twice as many passengers as the average for existing fleet.

Information Request

Please confirm your analyst was aware of the low level of local bus patronage and provide a copy of the analysis that was performed to reach this number, the qualification of the consultant who made this estimate and the evidence used to support this analysis.

Yours faithfully,

MR.Vivian Carrick

Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

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Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

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Dear Mr Carrick

 

Re: FOI request: 10185 / Brighton Bus Occupancy and Benefits of an extra
bus service

 

Thank you for your request for information about the above. Your request
was received on 29 January 2017 and I am dealing with it under the terms
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

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Peter Walker

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Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Carrick

 

Re: FOI request: 10186 / Brighton Bus Occupancy and Benefits of an extra
bus service

 

Thank you for your request for information, which we have dealt with under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). A copy of your
request and our response is set out below. Please note that any
information we provide is subject to the copyright and reuse of
information terms and conditions set out at the bottom of this letter.

 

Request

 

Background

 

Your officers' recommendation in a recent planning application accepted
that an additional peak hour bus service on A259 West of Newhaven would
result in 50 peak hour car drivers switching to bus services.

 

As current peak hour Bus Occupancy is fewer than 28 passengers per bus, it
is hard to understand why an extra bus would attract almost twice as many
passengers as the average for existing fleet.

 

Information Request

 

Please confirm your analyst was aware of the low level of local bus
patronage and provide a copy of the analysis that was performed to reach
this number, the qualification of the consultant who made this estimate
and the evidence used to support this analysis.

Response

 

The Highway Officer representing East Sussex County Council Highway
Authority was aware of patronage levels and during the life of the
planning application was in correspondence with the Passenger Transport
team at East Sussex County Council  and Brighton and Hove Bus Company who
were consulted with regard to the Public Transport Strategy forming an
important aspect of the proposal, and a requirement in the Local plan
policy for Lower Hoddern Farm.

Factors accounted for in the estimation of the travel mode switch to the
count of 50 cars to bus were:

1)    Journey to work data (census 2011) – location/mode were extrapolated
and presented in the Transport Assessment Addendum by Iceni consultants
and accepted by ESCC Highway Authority

2)    Travel plan initiatives – set out in the Public Transport Strategy
and Travel Plan presented in the Transport Assessment Addendum by Iceni
consultants and accepted by ESCC Highway Authority

3)    Enhancements to the bus services in terms of frequency, comfort and
convenience provides a suitable and appropriate alternative to the private
car for journeys to and from Brighton direction – accepted by ESCC Highway
Authority

 

As with all proposed development, there is an element of prediction and
for the Lower Hoddern Farm development proposal there is background
evidence relating to historical vehicle flows and housing completions
along with the success of the bus lane with the occupancy levels of the
Coaster service, particularly during peak periods; which has been useful
to guide the development requirements.

The qualification of the consultant can be found in the Transport
Assessment addendum document available on the Lower Hoddern Farm
application pages of the Lewes District Council website.

 

A copy of an email from Brighton and Hove bus company below sets out their
position:

 

Thank you for your further email and comments, I do understand very well
the concerns that residents have both about the coast road congestion and
the impact of further proposed housing developments along the wider A259
corridor and I would respond to your points as follows:

 

1.       Design of the east entrance to the A259 junction at Rottingdean
and the sharp bend by the railings – I do believe that this could be
resolved if funding can be prioritised by the city council. I attended the
recent Rottingdean Local Action Team meeting and this was amongst a number
of concerns about how the junction does or doesn’t work much of the time.
Cllr Mary Mears, Cllr Joe Miller (both representing Rottingdean Coastal on
BHCC) and members of the Local Action Team for the area will be meeting in
the near future to see at first-hand what the issues are and I am hopeful
that by working positively in partnership we might be able to come up with
a list of measures that can help address some of the concerns and enable
traffic to flow smoother through the area. I would however confirm that
the latest greenest buses we are using on the Coaster services are
actually shorter than the earlier buses prior to 2015 in most cases and
the width is very comparable (both being 2.5m wide give or take a few
millimetres) so from a bus perspective the situation has got no worse.

 

2.       Proposed Lower Hoddern Farm Development in Peacehaven – the
nearest services to the site of this planning application are the 14/14C
around North Peacehaven and whilst my initial checks on passenger number
data revealed that these buses were leaving Peacehaven with available
seating capacity which should be more than capable of taking an increase
from residents of new homes, what was not immediately clear was that as
the buses proceeded further along the coast road towards Brighton, they
were becoming full with other passengers. We are also advised by
Peacehaven Town Council that a number of residents in the East Peacehaven
area drive to side streets adjacent to the A259 and park cars leading to
congested side streets, before boarding Coaster 12 buses on the main road.
We have offered to extend the 14 which continues hourly to Newhaven around
through East Peacehaven between the Meridian Centre and Newhaven to help
with the parking congestion issues but can only do this once East Sussex
County Council have brought the condition of the road surfaces in East
Peacehaven up to a suitable standard to be able to stand the weight of the
buses and added bus stop markings. We await further advice on this but in
the meantime we have added three further buses to the Coaster 12 services
which has increased the number of buses between Seaford and Brighton to up
to 8 an hour during the day with a ten minute frequency maintained through
to Eastbourne and an increase in the faster 12X service from every 30
minutes to every 20 minutes since April 2017.We believe this is helping
address heavy peak time loadings on the A259 corridor and we have met with
East Sussex County Council and transport consultants for Lower Hoddern
Farm to discuss how we may be able to work together to fund further
improvements to the services.

 

The Coaster services have seen consistent year on year growth for many
years and surveys conducted earlier this year revealed that 48% of people
travelling in to Brighton during the morning peaks were doing so on just
2% of the vehicles (ie. Our buses) with the bus lanes helping make bus
journeys faster and an attractive alternative to the private motor car.
Emissions from the new Streetdeck buses are considerably lower tail pipe
to tail pipe than their equivalent Euro 6 rated diesel car alternatives
and much much cleaner than that against the majority of other diesel cars
of an older age something I am sure residents along the road will
appreciate and when you take into account that most cars are only carrying
one or two people, the buses really are taking huge numbers of potential
cars off the road, congestion out of your neighbourhoods and improving air
quality as they go.

 

There is clear need for housing in the wider area as young people struggle
to find affordable homes and whilst it is not for us to decide where this
housing should be provided, if it is proposed to go within the areas we
serve, particularly on the A259 corridor, we do feel well placed to help
provide new residents with a really attractive choice of travel in to
Brighton. We are serious about being prepared not only to work with the
council and developers to increase service frequency still further but we
stand ready to work in other ways to help promote the bus as the solution
including offering new residents a trial period of free bus travel because
we know that evidence shows modal shift change has the greatest chance of
happening when someone moves home or changes job. At the same time we are
prepared to co-ordinate a marketing campaign to existing residents along
the wider area to try and encourage them to try the bus. This will
hopefully not only reduce congestion along the A259 in general but will
also free up road space for those who do not have the luxury of that
choice for whatever reason.

 

3.       Your concerns about our commitment to providing extra services
and the commercial viability of these – I hope that what I have said
above, should provide some comfort with regard to our commitment to
providing extra services because the routes have seen continual growth and
we have a proud record of responding to that by increasing capacity of
both stopping services but also providing faster limited stop options for
people travelling from further away. We remain willing to work with the
council and developers to help fund further improvements and as a lot of
my personal time is spent talking to housing developers across our wide
areas of operation, I can assure you that I always look to work with them
to provide kick start funding for services that are likely to be able to
become viable once the developer contributions have ended. Putting on
services that help get planning approval without the likelihood of it
lasting in the longer term are pointless and I would rather walk away from
a discussion that gave some short term gain, than leave a development with
no bus service shortly afterwards as that would not only be bad for the
local area but bad for our hard fought good reputation.

 

I hope this more comprehensive reply provides further comfort but I remain
willing to respond to any further questions from the action group you
refer to in your email.

 

Business Development Manager | Coaching, Private Hire & City Sightseeing
Manager | Revenue Protection Team Manager | Innovation Champion

 

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Kind regards

 

 

Customer Services Officer

Communities, Economy and Transport

01273 482913
[2]eastsussex.gov.uk

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What did you think of the service you received today?

 

Please give us a rating from 1-4, 1 being Poor and 4 being Excellent.

 

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