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Council’s Cost-Saving Plan Puts South Downs Buses at Risk

n a recent development that has sparked concern among residents and environmental advocates, Brighton & Hove City Council is considering significant budget cuts that could lead to the discontinuation of funding for two crucial bus services. These buses, known as the Breeze Up to the Downs services, offer affordable and direct access to the picturesque South Downs, serving as a vital link for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and tourists visiting popular destinations like the Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon.

The proposed cuts amount to a withdrawal of £58,000 in subsidies, impacting the 77 bus service to the Devil’s Dyke, which operates from Easter to mid-June, and the 79 service to Ditchling Beacon. This decision has been met with substantial backlash from community groups and public transport advocates, who argue that the elimination of these services contradicts the council’s broader objectives to promote public transport usage and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

The potential service reductions were discussed in a meeting of the Strategy, Finance, and City Regeneration Committee on February 8. According to proposals, the 77 service could see a reduction to just one bus per hour from the current two during its operating season, while the 79 service faces a complete shutdown.

Brighton & Hove Buses, the operator of the Breeze services, has expressed its commitment to working with the council to explore future options for the routes. Ed Wills, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses, acknowledged the popularity of the Breeze Buses, particularly during the summer months, and indicated that the company is examining various alternatives in partnership with the council to maintain service to these key destinations.

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