Sunday 9 March 2014

Council check: Brighton & Hove City Council

Here's a look at the bus information available from Brighton & Hove City Council.

Where do the buses go?

No map from the council. There is a link to Go Ahead's Brighton & Hove site, which has a map of all bus services in the city, even those of other operators. Great job by them, but the council lets themselves down by not telling you where you can find the all-operator map.

Traveline provides a list of all bus routes in the city and they are linked to by the council, giving then 1 out of 5.


No timetables are to be found on the council's website. They do link to Brighton & Hove's site, where timetables for their services can be found. But they don't operate every bus in the city. To see timetables for them, you need to follow the provided links to the other operators or to Traveline. Keep digging and you'll find them.

In this category, B&H Council scores 2 out of 5.


The flat single fare for Brighton & Hove's buses is mentioned, but this of course doesn't apply to buses of other operators and that is not made clear on the council's website. There is no all-operator ticket and Plusbus is not mentioned. B&H have an Explorer ticket that is valid on some, but not all, other operators, but the council doesn't mention this.

The council tell you about B&H's main single fare and day ticket, but doesn't give an overview of the full ticket range. This lack of comprehensive information drags them down to 1 out of 5.


Brighton & Hove City Council are widely regarded as one of the most pro-public transport councils in the country, but the information they provide has quite a few gaps. No maps and no clear links to where you can find one, no route list or direct timetable links and potentially misleading fares information. B&H City Council score a total of 4 out of 15.


  1. So much for a so called green council - very very poor indeed.

    1. Not at all, the facts quoted are highly misleading.

  2. Wow, that's harsh. Okay, there's no map but when B&H Buses has a full map on their site (clearly visible from their home page) which shows all operators, as you acknowledge, what's the need for the council to replicate it? Do you expect the Council also to replicate the large range of other maps that B&H offers or simply direct people to where the information already is? Isn't that the beauty of the web, you can link to anywhere with a simple click?

    The thing is, with Brighton and perhaps what you've missed, is that B&H has for a long time, provided maps, timetable booklets and bus stop info that covers all operators in the area and provides 95%+ of the bus services. Some of this is info provision is presumably under contract to the Council. There's no need for the Council to redo what B&H already does. Perhaps the Council's web-site could be laid out better but the links are there (albeit you don't regard links as adequate).

    As for fares, all the tendered routes (in fact, that's just a mere handful provided by Compass Bus and The Big Lemon) charge B&H fares and accept B&H tickets and all operators except Stagecoach in the South Downs are in the Explorer scheme. The only three commercial operators other than B&H - Metrobus, and Stagecoach - are listed under 'Travel outside the city' (reasonable as you're unlikely to use them for travel within the city) and the Council links to each operator's website, all of which carry comprehensive information including maps, timetables and full fares info (Stagecoach, less so, I admit).

    You're expecting the Council to duplicate what B&H already does for them, which is just plain daft. BTW, I am a local resident but have no connection with any of the operators or the Council.

  3. Can't really accept the points being made. Brighton & Hove Bus Co has traditionally undertaken the role of information provider by way of their detailed timetable books and maps. As these include the other operators in the area there is no need for the council to do anything else.

    The strength (and uniqueness ?) of B & H is the extremely close relationship between the council and the bus company - a major factor which the author seems to have ignored.

  4. Unfortunately the commenters above who have criticised the original review appear to have assumed that the very comprehensive information provided by B&H is more comprehensive or understandable that it actually is. It would appear that the Council is of the same mind, as it cannot even provide a proper summary or direct links to all the relevant and available information.

    I have just completed my own review, and my own conclusions are below:

    The Council has a single page for bus services, timetables and fares. However, there is no mention of any travel maps or links to them.

    There is a summary of some fares with direct links to the pages of B&H fares for short hops, BusID cards and M-tickets only.

    There are direct links to the websites of local bus companies and Traveline in the form of banners, but unfortunately not only are these not labelled as links, they are placed at the end of the page, and so are easily missed. This arrangement would probably fail most accessability and usability guidelines in itself.


    B&H does have a page of bus maps (PDFs and an interactive map). Most of them appear to show the routes of all operators. Unfortunately the interactive map only appears to show the routes of B&H.

    However, the Council page should at least link to the Brighton Area Map, if not the whole Maps page.


    Brighton and Hove does actually have a single page listing the timetables for all routes in Brighton, so the Council page could easily link to that, as it appears to be more readable and user-friendly than Traveline.


    The fares information on the B&H site only appears to apply to those accepted on their own services, including multi-operator tickets.

    Information about multi-operator tickets does mention exclusions by other operators, but there is no discernable mention of regular B&H tickets being available on (for example) tendered services.

    Although B&H does provide a ticket overview page, this does not appear to be an overview of all the available tickets, access to which only appears to be through the tickets menu.

    Therefore is no comprehensive summary of ticket information available, which is a problem as the ticket system for Brighton seems to be quite complex.

    The only other operator that appears to provide complete fare information within Brighton is Compass Bus.

    *To conclude*

    Complete fare information for Brighton is not available, but a comprehensive summary of existing fares is really required.

    However, there is nothing to stop the Council directly linking to readily available maps and timetables, so the original review is perfectly fair and not at all harsh.

  5. If I was a Go Ahead shareholder,I might wonder why BH are promoting all the other operators services in the city and beyond,whilst they in turn do not promote BH in any of their material.Not very commercially minded is it,helping your rivals take business off you? Very strange.

  6. Not at all. BH sell multi-operator tickets. It's more helpful to the customer to have all relevant service info in one place. As BH is the overwhelmingly dominant operator, a customer is most likely going to use a BH bus on such a journey, and most likely buy the ticket from a BH driver. The alternative is a lost sale and another person complaining about the buses.

    Incidentally the original review is perfectly fair and not harsh at all:
    The Council could link directly to the BH all-operator maps but doesn't.
    The Council could link directly to the BH all-operator times, but doesn't.

    The fares remain a problem as there is no one fares page, and the only complete operator fares info is provided by BH and Compass. As the fares are complex a comprehensive but understandable summary of them is still required.

    The Council links to operator websites are also unhelpful as they don't look like links, aren't labelled as links, and appear at the end of the Council's page as if they aren't that important anyway.

  7. Not strange at all. BH sells a wide range of multioperator tickets and has nothing to lose and everything to gain by publicising all services on which they are valid. BH is overwhelmingly the dominant operator in Brighton so it is most likely that a customer on a multioperator journey will use a BH bus and probably buy a ticket from a BH driver. The alternative may be a lost sale and someone making another complaint about the buses.

    Additionally, to all the above complainants about the original review, you appear to be missing the point somewhat.

    The Council page could link to BH's all-operator maps, but doesn't.
    The Council page could link to BH's all-operator timetables, but doesn't.
    The fares situation is more complex as there is no single source available. The only operators that provide their own complete fare information for their services appear to be BH and Compass.

    Perhaps the Council's relationship with BH is so close that they have been a little too complacent about being able to provide even a proper summary and links to information that is readily available?

  8. Having lived in Brighton for 3 years, B&H is the source of bus information in the city. They have all the timetables for the city on their website and in their bi-annual magazine which has comprehensive information including maps and fares! Think this article is a little harsh..

  9. Metrobus have had comprehensive fares and service information on their website for several years.Much more easy to understand than BH.

  10. This survey looks at each area from the perspective of someone who isn't familiar with the area and doesn't know which operators run which routes. There are many potential bus passengers in that situation and we stand a better chance of persuading them to use the bus if we address the issues they face. The local council should be acting as an enabler of the local economy and providing good and comprehensive information about public transport is part of that. If the information is available elsewhere, then the council ought to at least be pointing that out and making clear what you can find where. So many fall into the trap of assuming that any potential passenger is already armed with as much knowledge as a local. They aren't.

  11. Hmmm. Anyone who tries to Google buses in Brighton will end up at B&H's site which will surely give them all the info they require. If I wasn't an enthusiast, a quick Google or an enquiry on Traveline will identify the predominant operators in an area, from which you can use their websites to find out what you need to know and be sure that the information is going to be correct and up to date. I'd always be very wary of info on a Council website and certainly wouldn't trust it sufficiently to risk not double-checking it with an operator's website.

  12. Googling buses in Brighton is exactly what I did before writing up my comment (at 01:58 above).
    Hence the map and timetable info is OK, but the fares info could be improved upon. But many people still turn to their local council for transport info, so there is no excuse for Brighton & Hove Council to fail to link directly to the relevant info that is already available from B&H.

  13. B&H Council actually proive a very popular public transport 'portal' website called This is a council website and privides comprehensive information including direct timetable links and real-time information.

    I am not taking away from B&H Buses excellent website (which we created for them), but to run the council down for not providing similar is to do them a disservice.


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