Thursday, 25 April 2013

Harbour Bus Service Complaints - Meeting Report

Following a number of complaints about unreliability on the Stagecoach Service 51 to Sovereign Harbour, I arranged a meeting with Jeremy Cooper, Operations Director for Stagecoach South East and we held that meeting last week at their local Birch Road offices.

On Service 51, Jeremy’s team have identified a variety of different issues that have caused these problems, including local traffic congestion, essential major road surfacing projects and repairs across the County, traffic accidents further out of town on the Tunbridge Wells corridor and a couple of training errors but he has asked me to pass on his apologies to passengers who have been inconvenienced.
In an effort to tackle this problem, Stagecoach will be monitoring GPS data closely to track vehicle movements and identify any regular areas that slow buses up, look to add more time in the timetable where necessary and address any training needs. Furthermore a new Controller position based in Terminus Road has been recruited to provide passengers with more information and where possible, arrange a replacement bus to cover buses leaving the Town Centre if long delays are experienced without warning.
We also spoke about the long awaited Sovereign Harbour Bus Gate and whilst the Harbour Retail Park regeneration does look like it is being delayed, East Sussex County Council are looking into proceeding with the final designs, planning application and construction independently of the Retail Park and Jeremy confirmed that once this is open, Stagecoach remain committed to increasing the frequency of Harbour bus services with as soon as they can run straight through from the South to the North Harbours.
Other comments from residents concerned the provision of low floor buses with buggy and shopping trolley access. Jeremy confirmed that whilst it is not possible to divert low floor vehicles away from other services in the town which carry far higher numbers of passengers, every effort will be made to reduce operation of high floor step entrance buses on the Harbour services to a minimum and in addition to the heavy investment made in fleet replacement in Eastbourne since Stagecoach purchased Eastbourne Buses, further investment in future will enable the gradual retirement of these older buses.
In an effort to ensure that any further complaints, comments or feedback is tracked efficiently, Jeremy has suggested that residents should direct all contact through their Customer Service Centre as follows:
Telephone: 0871 200 22 33
Or in writing to:
Stagecoach South East
Bus Station
St George’s Lane
Please also feel free to copy me in to any future comments by e-mail at

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