Friday, August 30, 2013

Lost in Hastings

I travelled to Hastings to see some houses yesterday.  We arrived at Hastings station with our shiny plus bus passes in our hands, expecting to be able to use them to get us around Hastings and St Leonards for the viewings.  I had addresses and instructions for each of the houses, and knew how to get to them from the nearest stations.

We took a brief look outside in the bus station, but couldn't find any useful information on the boards by the bus stops.  Unlike virtually any bus system I have ever used, Hastings buses - essentially Stagecoach - don't appear to want you to know where the buses go.  

I looked for information around Hastings station.  There were no leaflets, and no timetables or information, except for a strange chart showing a list of places with bus numbers - a really weird cross reference system.  I was looking for Ore and so dutifully copied down the numbers of the buses: 20, 20A, 22, 22A, 28, 347, 100 etc....

I asked at the information desk in the ticket office of the station if there was any information available for the buses and was told I "might find some at the tourist information office" in the town.

I just couldn't believe that people arriving in Hastings, a tourist town, could be left without *any* information about the buses, and so I searched for information again, thinking there must be some *somewhere*.  Outside Hastings train station is a set of stands, labelled with a letter of the alphabet.  Next to each is what looks like a timetable, but unlike every bus system I have ever used, instead of showing a list of the places visited somewhere on the sign, this had a list of times with a bus number on it, and no information about where the bus might go except for its ultimate destination.

I'm an intelligent, resourceful woman.  I approached a bus driver of a 20 and asked for his advice.  He was perfectly amiable, but told me that his bus was going in the opposite direction (very difficult to know for someone strange to the area) and told me to look out for a 22.  I already had that information from the sign inside the station, and so waited for a 22.  The bus driver denied that his bus was going anywhere near Ore station, and suggested a 21.   The 21 doesn't go near Ore station, and wasn't on the list of buses that do.  We gave up at this point.

I'm amazed that the town hasn't fixed this problem.  The town isn't easy to get around on foot, as we discovered, as it has very steep hills and is spread over a wide area.  I was half an hour late for a viewing because we walked from Ore station (which should be renamed "Not in Ore Station") and found the simple journey I had taken down from Google was in fact a touch uphill route march.

We took taxis from then on.  The very wonderful Sunny taxis took us, giving invaluable information about the area and a very good value and friendly service.  When we go back, we'll use them again.

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