Bus use in Brighton and Hove is rallying again after last year’s dip in passenger numbers – the first time trips fell in 20 years.
But more staff, an updated real time information and the conclusion of all the city’s major roadworks means the bus company is seeing signs more people are using buses once again.
The news was reported at last week’s Buswatch meeting at Brighton Town Hall. Chair Andrew Boag said: “During the period there were a series of roadworks which created major delays to bus services. These included the Vogue gyratory, Brighton Station, Edward Street and North Street.
“The main bus company also suffered from staff shortages which exacerbated the delays because some buses were cancelled while others were being held up. On top of that the real time information system was being updated so electronic displays were often unreliable or missing completely. The overall effect was to undermine confidence in our bus service and people voted with their feet.
“Lessons need to be learnt from this experience. The top priority for the Council must be to give more attention to keeping buses moving during traffic schemes.
“There are some promising signs here as the city council has been in discussion with bus companies on ways of mitigating the impact of future roadworks. The major Valley Gardens project due to begin in the coming months will be the first test of this strategy.
We are told Brighton and Hove Buses has reduced its staff shortage and buses are no longer being cancelled regularly for that reason.
“The real time information system has improved in recent weeks is at last becoming reliable again. Some bus services which suffered from poor reliability have been re-timetabled.
“It is particularly encouraging to see that bus companies are not reacting to the fall in numbers by reducing service levels; instead they are investing in anticipation of future growth.
“So the overall outlook is much brighter and with fewer roadworks planned for this year there are already some signs more people are using buses again, especially on those routes that have been improved.”