The N1 and N5 night bus routes had their service cancelled recently as the city’s after-dark public transport options were reportedly being underused for them to make financial sense.
The bus company says that some of the routes are used very rarely – and in some cases not a single passenger travels on services after midnight.
But Buswatch chairman Andrew Boag said the late-night service was vital, going against the move to reduce existing night transport services.
He said: “It seems rather drastic. There’s an assumption from some that people only use the night bus after a night out but many people need it to get home from work.”
Passenger Jason Condra, who relies on the service for commute each evening, said he has been left stranded following the scrapping of the services.
He said: “It’s very short notice. When I moved from Eastbourne three months ago, I was under the impression I would be able to take the night bus home.”
Mr Condra spent £200 on a 90-day network saver ticket to take him from his workplace near the Clock Tower on North Street to his home in Patcham.
He now says it wasn’t a worthwhile investment.
He added: “The cuts are going to lead to fewer people using the bus service in the future, which will lead to more cuts. If you’re a woman, you may feel vulnerable getting off in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think it’s very safe.”
There is an increased risk of assault and abuse after dark, a fact that can be witnessed in the reports of incidents in the midnight hours around our city.
“I don’t like to walk past the level at night. It’s kind of spooky and it doesn’t have a very good reputation in terms of it’s safety” said one passer by this morning commenting on the story.
“Having night services really opens up the city for me, I was able to make plans anywhere across Brighton & Hove with the knowledge that I’d be able to get home quickly and comfortably, and most importantly safely”.
The night bus will no longer serve Preston Park, Patcham or Hollingbury under the reductions, which come into effect on January 14.
Portslade and New Church Road, Hove, will also be affected.
Mr Boag is due to meet the Brighton and Hove Buses for a consultation on January 16, two days after the changes are implemented.
Brighton and Hove Buses managing director Martin Harris said: “The N1 and N5 services that come in from Whitehawk and Hollingbury/Patcham into town are usually empty and going the other way there are usually no more than three to four passengers. We’re retaining the westbound services where demand is higher. Plus, a good part of the N1 route serving Kemp Town is already covered by the N7 service.
“I sympathise with those handful of customers who are using these night services and can promise to keep them under review as with all our services.”