Following on from the recent debate about real time bus information signs in Eastbourne not working, apart from the ones used by Brighton & Hove buses which have been maintained, I was pleased to note that a number of the other signs appear to have been switched back on in areas served by Stagecoach.
Whilst for a number of reasons (already highlighted by me) the full system will not be able to offer 'real time' updates like those covered on the Brighton service into Eastbourne, East Sussex County Council, together with the manufacturer Trapeze and operators Brighton & Hove and Stagecoach Eastbourne have worked together to load the system with timetable information of the Stagecoach services so that scheduled departures will appear on the Real Time Signs. At stops where these signs are not located, passengers can send a text to 84268 quoting the bus stop reference starting with ES in the orange band on the bus stop signs and a message will come back advising passengers of the next buses serving that stop.
East Sussex County Council has been successful in gaining a sizeable Government Grant to expand Real Time Information across the County. Trials will start in partnership with Brighton & Hove Buses in the coming months on their service from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells via Lewes and Uckfield and the experience gained across the varied and lengthy route will be used to perfect the roll out elsewhere. Due to proposed investment by Stagecoach in their fleet, it is anticipated that the upgraded Real Time system will be fully operational in Eastbourne within two years.
Despite the Lib-Dem spin and bleeting, it remains the case that if the importance placed on maintaining Real Time Information had been formalised during the sale by the Lib-Dems of Eastbourne Buses back in 2008, we would not be in the position we are today. The fact that it has taken the Lib-Dems literally years to jump on this particular bandwagon whilst passengers have been frustrated by the lack of working signs for so long just highlights the stark difference - a positive and challenging position taken by Conservative Councillors gets results but there is increasingly little point in Lib-Dems!