A public transport group representing passengers in Croydon, Sutton and Surrey has warned against widespread cuts to bus services implied in a consultation conducted by Surrey County Council.
Surrey CC failed to consult the East Surrey Transport Committee directly, and it only filed its detailed and critical response to the council’s consultation this week.
The consultation, which can be accessed by clicking here, is due to close today.
In the letter from the East Surrey Transport Committee, seen by Inside Croydon, the chair, Charlie King, expresses concern that the council failed to consult it directly.
King also warns that the cuts to bus routes that serve East Surrey Hospital, Redhill and Gatwick Airport are being proposed too soon after the covid pandemic for any reasonable judgement to be made about passenger numbers, and that such bus cuts will force more people into cars, potentially damaging air quality.
The committee’s letter is also critical of the timing of the consultation, coming ahead of a government-backed £2 maximum fare on rural bus routes introduced this month, and the impact of the ULEZ expansion to the London-Surrey boundaries later this year.
“It is important to improve air quality and reducing public transport [and] forcing people to use cars is not the way to do this,” the committee letter states.
The committee response goes into granular detail about a series of bus routes under threat of cuts from the Surrey consultation.
Route 100: “We believe it is wrong to reduce the night service from Redhill and Crawley at a time when Gatwick Airport is now on a post-covid expansion. The night-time journeys are important for local people who work at Gatwick and for individual passengers that have flights with late-night arrivals and early-morning departures.”
Route 400: “… this route forms a very important part of the Surrey bus network linking Caterham with Redhill, East Surrey Hospital, Gatwick Airport and Crawley. It is well used, but is still in need of improvement…
“If you compare journey times, Route 100 takes 38 minutes from Redhill to Gatwick and 58 minutes from Redhill to Crawley. Whereas Route 400 takes 22 minutes to Gatwick and 37 minutes to Crawley.
“We are of the view that faster journey times from Redhill to Gatwick would increase bus usage. Route 400 also provides an important link from Caterham and Godstone areas to East Surrey Hospital.
“We would suggest that route 400 should be improved to run half hourly from Caterham to Crawley via Redhill and Gatwick. It should continue on to East Grinstead hourly. It should also run later in the evening so that the last bus to Caterham coincides with the end of visiting hours at East Surrey Hospital at 8pm.”
Route 409: “Withdrawal of the Sunday service is only acceptable if there are improvements to the 400 service on Sundays. Any demand replacement service must allow passengers to book Sunday trips on Sunday and not only during the week.”
Routes 430/435: “These routes provide important local links between Merstham, Redhill, East Surrey Hospital and Reigate. They also serve a number of care homes and nursing homes and are important for both visitors and staff.
“Although they operate a combined service there are very few areas where they provide a joint alternative service. To reduce the service to every 90 minutes from hourly is wrong and produces a timetable that is difficult to use and difficult to remember. It will reduce usage to those that have to use it rather than those who would like to use it.”
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