Renown Travel, which runs a number of single-deck buses on local routes, have advised East Sussex County Council (ESCC) of its intention to terminate the contract for the following services from December 24 2017:
312: Rye-Playden-Iden-Wittersham-Small Hythe-Tenterden
313: Rye Harbour-Rye-Playden-Peasmarsh-Beckley-Northiam
342: Hastings Station-Elphinstone Road-Pilot Road-Conquest Hospital-Harrow Lane-Sedlescombe Road North-Westfield-Brede-Broad Oak-Udimore-Rye
Renown Travel’s reasons for taking the decision to withdraw from the contract are that its costs in providing the service are higher than anticipated, along with lower than expected income from service users.
To avoid a gap in service ESCC is seeking prices from operators to provide a broadly similar replacement service, though individual journeys are expected to change. This may include the last journeys on services 312 and 313 running earlier than present, though there would still be a peak time departure on each service from Rye between 5pm and 6pm.
The parishes of Beckley, Northiam and Peasmarsh have been contributing funding which pays for an additional Monday to Friday journey, at 9:03am from Northiam to Rye, on which concessionary pass holders have been able to travel for free. ESCC is looking to retain a similarly timed journey as part of the new timetable arrangements, though the continuation of free travel before 9:30am will require this facility to still be funded by the parish councils.
On service 342, due to the very low level of use, the current Monday to Friday journey at 7:29am from Hastings Station to Rye is expected to start instead from Pilot Road/Westminster Crescent, Hastings, and to run on schooldays only. The current schooldays only 3:51pm from Rye to Hastings station is expected to run only as far as Pilot Road/ Westminster Crescent. The current 342 Monday to Friday 4:31pm journey from Rye to Westfield is also expected to run on schooldays only. An evening peak journey between 5pm and 6pm from Rye serving Udimore and Broad Oak will continue to be provided, though it is likely to mean using a service 313 journey running via Beckley and Northiam, similar to the current arrangement.
Journeys operated by Rambler Coaches are not expected to be affected.
ESCC anticipates being able to provide news of the replacement bus service arrangements by the end of November, in readiness for their start after Christmas. It is not intended that Northiam and Rye Harbour should be left without direct links into Rye.
Photo: Rye News Library