Has public transport broken down?

The sign is clear, but the way ahead is clearly not on Thursday morning.

Living in Rye for my entire life, I like to think I have a say in what the public transport is like in the town. I mean, we have a train station and a bus stop in close proximity to each other, and taxis outside the train station so you would think that we are well sorted out when it comes to getting around. However, I think there are some problems with public transport and I will attempt to highlight some of these issues and come up with an idea on how I think we could improve it.

First off, the trains are pretty good for the most part. Choose platform one you can take the train to Eastbourne stopping off at Hastings and making connections to Brighton and many other places. Or you could take platform two and got to Ashford where you can get on the Eurostar and go to France. This is pretty useful if you want to go out of town or to France but getting to more local places is a bit more of a challenge.

For obvious reasons, the traffic hasn’t been too bad over the last year but recently, as the weather warmed up and the restrictions have eased, we’re seeing the roads start to clog up more frequently. This is good news for Rye as it means there is more business for local companies, which is much needed after the past lockdowns. However, this is bad news for people wanting to go to the beach by bus as the roads to Camber will probably be full of cars and getting there will take longer than anticipated. The times for the buses also seem to vary in how long you have to wait for each bus.

The times seem to fluctuate between arriving every half an hour to every hour, so if you miss your bus back you’ll either have to stay another hour on the beach or walk back to Rye, which will take you about an hour. Not something I would like to be doing after spending three hours in the baking heat.

There is a simple solution to this – either we have more frequent buses, or reduce traffic into Camber. This will not only reduce the time taken driving in and around Rye. It will also mean more people will go by bus, which will mean more revenue for the bus companies.

So, on the whole, Rye’s public transport is actually okay for all the flaws I’ve pointed out. Yes, the price for bus tickets might be quite expensive and yes, the last trains back to Rye might be too early, which means you may end up rushing to the station sooner than you anticipated. But as I said, for being such a small town I think we’re lucky to have as much freedom of movement as we do.

So if the issues I pointed out are looked at, then I think that we are lucky to have the facility to go to France just by taking two or three trains.

Editor’s note: The above opinion comes from a young contributor, aged 18, and Rye News could do with more youthful voices contributing to our community news and views. If anyone is interested please email info@ryenews.org.uk.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. Congratulations on producing your first article for Rye News Oscar, well done. Lets hope other young contributers follow your example and take up the challenge, we need more writers like you, keep ’em coming!

  2. Rye and surrounding area should be better promoted as an easy destination by public transport, but bus connections to train times could be improved. Rye has several long distance footpaths paths converging on it and the Sustrans cycle route through it. The number of visitors coming by car at peak times is just too much…

  3. Travel to/from Ashford International
    Due to the impact of coronavirus and the subsequent pressure put on our business, we’ve made a decision to focus on our busiest city centre stations. As a result, our trains will no longer be stopping at Ashford International until 2022 at the earliest.

    • Although you can’t get a train to France or Belgium from Ashford International until 2022 at the very earliest, the most useful connections are to other places in the South East. There are direct trains from Ashford to Dover, Folkestone, Canterbury, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Ramsgate, Margate, the East and North Kent Coasts, the Medway towns, Gravesend – in fact a great choice of anywhere. And of course London itself is just 37 minutes away, with really quick and easy interchanges to East Anglia (Ipswich and Norwich and other major town via Stratford) and up the East Coast mainline to Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen (Kings Cross), Cambridge and Kings Lynn (via Kings Cross). Without changing stations at all in London you can travel direct to the Peak District, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield from St Pancras. In fact our little rail link to Ashford offers superb connections that you may not have thought of, but they are there for the taking.

  4. Most people will agree with you Barry, that’s what comes with a successful Nature reserve, and a town which promotes tourism, not everyone can come by other means than car,sadly we are now paying the price for turning down a bypass all those years ago, and let’s not forget people on foot have the dangerous junction at the top of the harbour road to cross, which some say is not a problem.

  5. Sadly, you cannot go to Ashford and catch the Eurostar to France or anywhere else on the continent. The Eurostar has not stopped at Ashford since March 2020 and are not expected to return until 2022.

  6. Sadly, with the much reduced cross-Channel traffic because of Covid, Eurostar trains no longer stop at Ashford or Ebbsfleet. This was decided many months ago for understandable economic reasons. You have to get the Eurostar at St Pancras – and come all the way back through Ashford! This will continue to be the case until at least the end of this year.

  7. I think you are on to something with Camber. I used to use the train from Rye when I lived in Lydd and getting through here on weekends and hot summer days was a nightmare and I agree a dedicated bus from the station would be an excellent idea. But for this to work you would need to clear cars from the roads or create a dedicated bus road. I had to book a parking spot at the train station and one of the ways to control the number of cars in camber (and Rye for that matter) would be pre-booking at all the car parks when demand is expected to be high. I think that a 3 or 4 car car half hourly train to Ashford would be needed to support this.


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