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Improving accessibility 4 Improving accessibility · PDF file 4 Improving accessibility Currently several local areas are covered by community transport which includes: Dial-a-Ride

Jul 18, 2020

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  • Through the implementation of the County Council’s Accessibility Strategy, we are helping to remove some of the barriers associated with using public transport in East Sussex, to facilitate improved access to services in the county’s key centres.

    Our Accessibility Strategy is focused particularly on public transport and we are undertaking detailed local assessments in conjunction with partner organisations to develop appropriate action plans to remove some of the barriers people face in accessing key services and facilities. These include places of employment, education, healthcare and healthy food shopping. By removing the barriers, we are facilitating increases in bus patronage across the county, which is demonstrated in the progress we have made towards achieving respective targets, as set out in chapter 11. This in turn facilitates improved coverage of commercial services operating in East Sussex by increasing the level of revenue generated by the operators.

    The strategy is informed by our accessibility model known as Accession. The accessibility plots it produces are also used by the planning authorities to inform Local Development Frameworks. They provide an assessment of relative accessibility in different areas by public transport, helping to inform land-use provision, and the emerging Bus and Community Transport Strategies. The process is informed by local

    evidence bases – such as the objectives of the Local Strategic Partnership, relevant LTP2 Local Area Transport Strategies, village action plans and data gleaned from local surveys – to identify which services are important to communities, providing a clear focus for the Accession modelling schedules.

    A programme of detailed Accessibility Strategy Local Assessments (ASLAs) has been approved by the County Council, and the assessments are used to identify appropriate action plans of measures which seek to tackle accessibility barriers to key services and facilities. The action plans typically identify a combination of information-based measures, ‘smarter choice’ measures and in some instances improved public transport which are implemented mainly by the County Council, although some are being progressed by other partner organisations.

    Bus services The County Council works with bus operators to coordinate information about routes, timetables and charges, and thereby promote a stable network of services. The objectives of the passenger transport service are well aligned with LTP2 accessibility objectives to meet the daily transport needs of all people in the county, but especially pupils going to and from school, people with mobility impairments,

    4 Improving accessibility

    East Sussex County Council LTP2 Progress Report 2008

    Improving accessibility ��

    Improve access to services by providing greater travel choices and influencing land use decisions

  • East Sussex County Council LTP2 Progress Report 2008

    Improving accessibility��

    the elderly and those without access to a car, particularly in rural and more deprived areas. Services and timetables are aligned to allow people to access key centres where they can find health and education services, employment opportunities and healthy food outlets.

    The County Council implements a concessionary fare scheme for children and young people in the form of Freedom and Pathfinder tickets, providing them with unlimited bus travel on most routes in the county for a discounted fare.

    Rider bus services, supported by the County Council, are often the only public transport in rural and suburban areas. Fares are competitive and return tickets can be used for a return journey on other local services in the same area, or another Rider service.

    The County Council has commissioned consultants to produce a Zero Based Review of Bus Services. This will constitute a comprehensive, strategic review looking

    at the way the Council funds bus services and will identify opportunities arising from new legislation to develop a new draft Bus Strategy designed to give robust guidance to decision makers at a strategic level. As a result the County Council will be able to prioritise its resources on those service elements which are essential to delivering improved accessibility.

    The Passenger Transport Team works closely with the Highways Development Control Team to assess the travel impact of new development applications and ensure appropriate passenger transport measures are implemented to mitigate unwanted impacts of new development. These have taken the form of contributions to improved frequency of bus services, provision of accessible bus stops and walking routes, and the adoption of travel plans.

    Westham and Pevensey Kickstart Project and Rural Bus Challenge In partnership with the Westham & Pevensey Local Transport Partnership (WPLTP), a successful bid was made to the Department for Transport for Rural Bus Challenge and Kickstart funding.

    The Kickstart scheme provided Eastbourne Buses with funding to extend a conventional hourly bus service from Eastbourne into the rural hinterland of Westham and Pevensey. This established a public transport link between the rural communities and Eastbourne. The new Local 5 route replaced a limited bus service, which ran four times a day.

    The Local 5 service was heavily marketed and attracted a significant increase in passengers. Unfortunately, due to the changing financial circumstances of Eastbourne Buses, the company was not able to continue with the service beyond the Kickstart funding period. However, another bus company did take over the

  • East Sussex County Council LTP2 Progress Report 2008

    Improving accessibility ��

    weekday service on a commercial basis and this arrangement is now working satisfactorily.

    In respect of the Rural Bus Challenge element, with the full involvement of stakeholders, a service specification was designed and, following competitive tendering, Eastbourne Buses was awarded a contract to provide a fully accessible demand responsive local bus service. Marketed as Rover 6, the service operated Mondays to Saturdays and all journeys were subject to pre-booking via a dedicated Travel Call Centre (provided by West Sussex County Council).

    Rover 6 was designed to fulfil two objectives:

    a) to increase the accessibility of the fixed route bus services (see Kickstart element below) by providing transport from the user’s home to and from the nearest bus stop, and

    b) to meet those local transport needs within the Parishes of Westham & Pevensey not catered for by the existing conventional bus network.

    Although the service proved to be a very useful facility for a small number of regular users, it became clear that take-up was insufficient to enable the service to continue in the same form beyond the Rural Bus Challenge funding period.

    However, the County Council and the Partnership were determined to retain some of the benefits of Rover 6. Therefore, in late 2007 and early 2008, the County Council and the WPLTP, with support and advice from the Department for Transport, worked in close partnership with the Cuckmere Community Bus organisation to re-launch Rover 6 as a community bus link staffed by voluntary drivers and using volunteers to operate a home-based telephone booking service. The new Rover 6 commenced operations in mid February 2008, initially on two days per week owing to the small

    number of volunteers.

    The service has managed to retain most of the clients that formerly used the Eastbourne Buses service and is now beginning to experience a small growth in patronage. There are aspirations to extend the service to other days of the week as more volunteers are recruited and trained.

    This project has been an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved when the local authority works in close partnership with local stakeholders to provide a self-help solution to local transport needs.

    With the full involvement of local stakeholders, the project has assisted the County Council to meet a number of its key LTP2 targets by promoting improved accessible public transport, access to services for the community, and reduced dependency on private car transport, with the consequent improvement in air quality and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

    Community Transport Strategy Running concurrently with the Zero Based Review of Bus Services will be a Review of Community Transport. This will provide a model for future development of this aspect of transport provision in order to ensure continued access and mobility for rural communities. Community Transport may play a greater role in providing accessibility lifelines to communities in East Sussex, particularly if there are changes in the level of support for local bus services. One of the recommendations of the Executive Review of Passenger Transport was the need to develop a clear Community Transport Strategy which complements existing commercial and supported bus services, and takes account of the experience of past and current schemes.

    The Community Transport Strategy, along with an updated Bus Strategy, will be finalised at the end of 2008/09.

  • East Sussex County Council LTP2 Progress Report 2008

    Improving accessibility�4

    Currently several local areas are covered by community transport which includes:

    Dial-a-Ride schemes

    voluntary car services, and

    vehicles sui