Bus service funding

Most bus services in East Sussex are run commercially by bus operators, meaning they are reliant on income from service users. See Bus operating companies for more information and contact details.

Bus Services funded by East Sussex County Council

Legislation allows the County Council to subsidise buses which cannot run at a profit but are seen to be socially necessary for the community. There is discretion as to what services, if any, are provided within the limited funding available.

In 2014 the County Council undertook a major assessment of travel needs. We used this understanding of need to match supply with need and developed our ‘Vision’ and priorities for the Public Transport Service in the future. Based on the findings and following extensive public consultation, East Sussex County Council’s agreed a needs based public transport commissioning strategy.

Decisions on which services to develop and support are made using the hierarchy of service provision outlined in the commissioning strategy:

Priority 1 – Enable children eligible for statutory free home to school transport to travel to the nearest suitable school or college

Priority 2 – Enable residents to get to work at key centres during peak times

Priority 3 – Enable residents to access essential services during the day on a minimum of two days per week

Priority 4 – Enable children who are not eligible for statutory free home to school transport to travel to the nearest available school or college

East Sussex County Council spends over £1 million each year funding services to meet the needs identified. They are provided under contract to us by various bus operators. The services we contract are listed below.

Bus routes
Service Route (whole service funded unless stated) Operator
5,5A This section of route only - Langney-Stone Cross-Westham-Pevensey-Pevensey Bay-Beachlands Stagecoach
5 School day afternoon journey only - Cavendish School- Bridgemere Stagecoach
7 Hastings-Ashford Way Stagecoach
23 This section of route only - Hastings-Elphinstone Rd-Pilot Rd-Conquest Hospital Stagecoach
23B The morning peak journey to Conquest Hospital only - Hastings-St Leonards-Harley Shute-Hollington-Conquest Hospital Stagecoach
27 Hastings-Linton Road Stagecoach
28 The public holiday service only (Sunday service funded by Hastings Parking Surplus) - Hastings-West Hill-Ore-Conquest Hospital Stagecoach
40 Tuesday and Friday - Berwick-Seaford Cuckmere Buses
42 Wednesday - Berwick-Hailsham Cuckmere Buses
51 Funded by development contributions - Dittons Wood service Stagecoach
54 Off-peak service only - Uckfield town service Stagecoach
54A Funded by development contributions - Eastbourne-D.G.Hospital -Polegate-Dittons Wood Corner-Stone Cross Stagecoach
73,74 School days - ARK Alexandra Academy school services Stagecoach
94 Little Common-Bexhill Stagecoach
95 Bexhill-Ninfield-Catsfield-Battle-Conquest Hospital Stagecoach
96 Little Common-Cooden Beach-Bexhill-Ridgewood Gardens Stagecoach
97 Bexhill-Glenleigh Park–Hooe Stagecoach
101 The public holiday service only (Sunday service funded by Hastings Parking Surplus) - Conquest Hospital-Hastings-Fairlight-Rye Stagecoach
119 Seaford local service (including certain journeys to/from Alfriston) Compass Travel
120 Saturday afternoon journeys only - Seaford local service Compass Travel
121 The last journey in each direction only - Lewes-Offham-Cooksbridge-Chailey-Newick Compass Travel
122 Weekday service only - Lewes-Offham-Cooksbridge-Barcombe Compass Travel
123 Schooldays only journeys - East Saltdean-Peacehaven-Newhaven-Rodmell-Kingston-Lewes Compass Travel
125 Lewes-Glynde-Firle-Alfriston-Polegate-D.G.Hosp-Eastbourne Compass Travel
126 The journeys operated by Compass Travel only - Seaford-Alfriston-Polegate-Wannock-Willington-D.G.Hosp-Eastbourne Compass Travel
129 Lewes town service Compass Travel
143 Lewes-Ringmer-Laughton-Deanland Wood-Hailsham Compass Travel
145 Newhaven local service Compass Travel
166 Lewes-Plumpton-Wivelsfield Green-Princess Royal Hospital- Haywards Heath Compass Travel
167,168 Village Rider services linking Lewes-Plumpton-Ditchling-Burgess Hill-Wivelsfield Green Compass Travel
224 Wednesday and Friday - Wadhurst-Town Row-Rotherfield-Crowborough North Wealden Community Transport
225 Tuesday and Thursday - Crowborough-Rotherfield-Heathfield-Rushlake Green-Brightling-Netherfield-Battle North Wealden Community Transport
226 Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - Crowborough-Rotherfield-Mayfield local service North Wealden Community Transport
227 School days - Five Ashes-Argos Hill-Rotherfield- Crowborough Seaford & District
228,229 Tunbridge Wells–Eridge Green- Crowborough–Jarvis Brook Compass Travel
231 Uckfield-Framfield-Blackboys-Heathfield-Etchingham Compass Travel
246 Thursday - Uckfield-Chelwood Gate- Sheffield Park-Fletching-Uckfield Community Transport for the Lewes Area
248,249 Monday, Wednesday and Friday - Uckfield-Buxted-Hadlow Down/High Hurstwood-Crowborough Community Transport for the Lewes Area
251,252 The afternoon schooldays only journeys, and the last journeys - Heathfield-Rotherfield-Mayfield-Tunbridge Wells Stagecoach
254 The public holiday service only - Hawkhurst-Flimwell-Wadhurst-Ticehurst-Tunbridge Wells Stagecoach
256 Tunbridge Wells-Bells Yew Green-Lamberhurst-Wadhurst Autocar
261 Uckfield-Maresfield-Nutley- Coleman’s Hatch-Forest Row-Ashurstwood-East Grinstead Compass Travel
304,305 Early morning and evening journeys, plus the public service - Hastings-Battle-Whatlington-Robertsbridge-Hurst Green-Hawkhurst Stagecoach
312 Rye-Playden-Iden-Wittersham-Tenterden Stagecoach
313 Rye Harbour-Rye-Playden-Peasmarsh-Beckley-Northiam Stagecoach
318 School days - Heathfield–Uckfield-East Hoathly-Chiddingly-Whitesmith-Laughton-King’s Academy Seaford & District
320 School days - Ninfield-Claverham College Stagecoach
342 Hastings-Westfield-Broad Oak-Udimore-Rye- Playden-Peasmarsh-Beckley-Northiam Stagecoach and Rambler Coaches
347 Pett-Guestling-Hastings Stagecoach
349 Last journey on Mondays to Saturdays and the public holiday service - Hastings-Sedlescombe-Bodiam-Sandhurst-Hawkhurst Stagecoach
354 Ticehurst-Wadhurst rail link Autocar
355 School days - Claverham Community College school journeys Rambler Coaches
356 School days - Little Common-Hooe-Claverham College Rambler Coaches
359 School days - Hastings-St Richards Catholic College Stagecoach
360 College days - Etchingham-Robertsbridge-Sedlescombe-Bexhill College Rambler Coaches
361 College days - Peasmarsh- Northiam -Westfield- Bexhill College Rambler Coaches
381 School days - Westfield-Broad Oak-Northiam-Staplecross-Robertsbridge Rambler Coaches
382 School days - Rye-Udimore-Broad Oak-Westfield-Robertsbridge Community College Rambler Coaches
383 School days - Peasmarsh-Sedlescombe-Robertsbridge Community College Rambler Coaches
468 School days - Ditchling-Westmeston-Plumpton-Chailey School Seaford & District
492,493 School days - Compass Travel journeys only - Seahaven Academy services Compass Travel
494 School days - Seahaven Academy service Brighton & Hove
B67/B71/B72 Monday and Tuesday - Battle Area Services Battle Area Community Transport
B73 Tuesday - Battle-Robertsbridge-Mountfield-Battle Battle Area Community Transport
B74 Friday - Mountfield-Netherfield- Sedlescombe- Robertsbridge-Burwash- Battle Battle Area Community Transport
B75 Wednesday - Mountfield -Netherfield- Westfield-Sedlescombe- Battle Battle Area Community Transport
B79 Tuesday - Battle-Ashburnham-Battle Battle Area Community Transport

Funding from Government

Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) 

This is a set amount paid annually to local transport authorities. It can only be only be used to fund bus services. East Sussex County Council currently receives £438,709 annually (correct as at September 2023). This, together with East Sussex Council’s own funding (see above), is used to fund the contracted bus services listed.

A Better Deal for Bus Users 

This is a single funding allocation of £265,381 to East Sussex County Council to improve bus services. Government is allowing local transport authorities to use some, or all, of their funding to instead retain or restore services affected by Covid-19. The County Council had planned to improve services in the following ways, but due to significant reductions in bus use and fares income, this funding may be needed to maintain existing services.

Service 2 – reinstate two return journeys between Northiam and Hastings, to provide an hourly Monday to Saturday service for the main daytime period.

Service 3 – introduction of a new Monday to Saturday evening service between Eastbourne town centre, Congress theatre complex and Meads.

Service 20/22C – reinstate later Sunday and Bank Holiday evening journeys between Hastings and Mayfield Farm.

Service 23 – introduce weekday morning and afternoon peak journeys between Hastings town centre, St Helen’s, The Ridge and Conquest Hospital.

Service 26/26A – introduce additional evening journeys between Hastings town centre, Park View, Conquest Hospital, Silverhill and Warrior Square.

Service 28 – introduce later Monday to Saturday journeys between Hastings town centre, Priory Road, Malvern Way, The Ridge and Conquest Hospital.

Service 54 – introduce a new Sunday and Bank Holiday service 54 between Uckfield, East Hoathly, Lower Dicker, Hailsham, Polegate, District General Hospital and Eastbourne.

Service 98 – introduce a new evening and Sunday journeys between Eastbourne, District General Hospital, Polegate, Hailsham, Magham Down, Herstmonceux, Windmill Hill, Ninfield, Sidley, Bexhill, Pebsham and Hastings.

Service 131 – introduce an improved and extended Lewes town route 131. Increase from 3 days to 6 days a week and extend to provide the Spences Lane area with an hourly service.

Service 254/304 – reinstate a Sunday service between Hastings, Battle, Robertsbridge, Hurst Green, Hawkhurst, Flimwell, Ticehurst, Wadhurst, Frant and Tunbridge Wells.

COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG)

East Sussex County Council received £96,072 to help support tendered bus services for 12 weeks from 17 March 2020.  This was used to cover some of the shortfall in bus operators’ fares income during this period and for additional cleaning and PPE.

The Local Transport Authority COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart Scheme

East Sussex County Council received £505,666 to help support tendered bus services for 9 June 2020 to 31 August 2021. This was similarly used to cover some of the shortfall in bus operators’ fares income during this period and for additional cleaning and PPE.

The COVID-19 grants to the County Council are used in accordance with conditions as set out by the Department for Transport and are subject to audit.

A full breakdown of how CBSSG and CBSSG restart funding was used is provided below: