Three Thanet Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS) are among 74 which Kent County Council proposes to cut in a bid to save £4million.
The authority needs to make the 70% reduction in its SNBS budget between 2018-2020.
The current budget of £5.69million covers whole services, School day only services, Evenings, Saturdays, Sundays, route diversions, Kent Karrier services and the Tilbury ferry service.
The Kent Karrier services are pre-booked, dial a ride services for those people who through age, disability or location could not access conventional public transport. The annual £400,000 for this service will remain, as will £75,000 per year for the Tilbury ferry.
Contracts to be cut
But 74 SNBS contracts will be axed to make the £4million saving. These contracts currently provide 1.6m journeys per annum.
The proposed contracts to be withdrawn comprise of;
- 28 full services (incl peak/schools)
- 22 full services (off peak, no schools)
- 5 evenings only
- 5 Sunday only
- 14 School days only (for schools travel)
The services in Thanet proposed for removal are the 38, 38A Palm Bay – Ramsgate – Manston – Birchington, the 42, 42A Monkton – Ramsgate and the 36 Herne Bay – Margate / QEQM Hospital. The 36 was taken over by Whitstable-based Regent Coaches on September 4.
A report to county council members of the Environment and Transport Cabinet committee, due to discuss the plans on Thursday (November 30), says: “There is the potential that the commercial bus network may see revisions in routings/frequency to align it with the reduction of SNBS network.
“This would particularly occur where funding has been used to redirect services off a main road to serve a particular community. It is anticipated that during the consultation process and into the serving of contract termination that some operators will come forward with service proposals.
“These proposals are anticipated to pick up those elements of journeys/services which see the maximum use and which could be potentially commercial.”
However, the report states not all routes will be picked up and that there will be “a significant impact for those presently using those SNBS that could be withdrawn.”
If Cabinet members agree the proposals to withdraw services, a public consultation will take place from January 17, 2018 until March 27, 2018.
Consultation could mean amendments to the proposals which would be made in April 2018 and finalised by the Cabinet committee members in May 2018.
In June 2018 contract withdrawal notices will go to operators running the routes that are eventually agreed for the axe with the end of those services coming into effect from September 2018.