Villagers will have the chance to share their views regarding rural transport as Kent County Council launches a consultation into services.
Mike Whiting, KCC cabinet member for transport, says the scheme will help the authority identify areas of improvement. He said: “We want to explore how we can improve connectivity for our rural residents and assess the viability of offering different kinds of services.
“That’s why for the next couple of months we’re meeting with all stakeholders – residents, parish councils, operators – and running our “Big Conversation” programme to see what we could do and get feedback from the people that could run them and use them.
“Once we have explored potential ideas with the market and completed our engagement with residents we will work on developing these ideas.
“We’ll then be working with transport and technology providers to look at how we can develop new ways of delivering rural transport.”
The main objectives of the programme are to maintain and, where possible, improve rural accessibility for those without alternative means of travel.
It will also look to integrate existing transport with the commercial transport network and make best use of technology to transform access to public transport.
Kent County Council issues over 298,000 concessionary travel bus passes for the elderly and disabled as well as helping to transport 32,000 young people through the unique young persons and 16+ travel cards.
Around 97% of journeys in Kent are run by private operators, such as Arriva and Stagecoach, with over 50 operators covering 600 services or routes.
Over the last 30 years KCC has funded some routes which, while not commercially viable, have been considered important to meet the needs of the communities and passengers they serve.
Labour ward councillor Jenny Matterface said: “The proposed subsidy cuts to Thanet’s bus routes, numbers 39, 42 and 56, will leave many residents isolated and unable to visit their GP, go shopping, attend social events, QEQM, change library books etc.
“Many bus users have been in touch with me asking why the public consultation meeting is being held in Birchington a destination unreachable from Broadstairs by bus since the services under threat don’t go there and the only other route from the town that does, runs early mornings only. In addition why an evening meeting?
“Does KCC not want anyone to attend so they could claim there is no interest? We need a meeting that is accessible to as many as possible and day-time.”
UPDATE – Birchington venue changed to Margate
Meetings and parish seminars.
There will be 11 public meetings between 7pm and 9pm at:
Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street Dover CT16 1DL on June 19
Margate Football Club, Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate, CT9 5QZ on June 21
Elite Venue, Dunkirk Close, Gravesend, DA12 5ND on June 26
STAG Community Arts Centre, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ on July 4
Borough Green Village Hall, Borough Green, TN15 8DG on July 5
University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ, on July 10
Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, Ashford Road, Tenterden, TN30 6LT on July 11
St Mary’s Bay Village Hall, Romney Marsh, TN29 OSW on July 12
High Weald Academy, Angley Road, Cranbrook TN17 2PJ on July 17
UK P Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne ME10 4DE on July 18
Lecture Theatre, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ on July 19
Ironic, meeting in Thanet is at Birchington at night which virtually impossible to get to from Broadstairs by bus due to recent Tory cuts to local buses. Will therefore be a farce as people affected will not be able to attend. I have raised my concerns but am awaiting a reply, please contact your local councillors to demand a day time meeting in other parts of Thanet
Always has been impossible by bus even under Labour. Can I suggest the train, the Centre is right next door to the station.
Fine, but you have to get to a station first before you can catch a train. No use if you live in some parts of Broadstairs or Ramsgate a distance from the station. The buses under threat don’t run in the evenings so no use if you can’t get your initial connection. Meeting should be daytime and easily accessible.
Where is Thanet in this consultation? Our 8a daytime service has been removed in the Kingsgate/Reading street area causing problems with getting to doctors, stations, Broadstairs, Canterbury and WWX.
How stupid to have evening meeting in Birchington about bus services as many people in Thanet have had bus services cut, we need afternoon meetings, typicall of Tory Kent County Council!!
Do we assume the Birchington one is the only Thanet meeting? As there are four routes given a subsidy by KCC and three of those are under threat (39, 42 and 56) does this mean bus users in Broadstairs and Ramsgate have to trek to Birchington? None of those routes under threat go anywhere near Birchington and none runs in the evening either!
I believe that residents in Reading Street are able to access the Loop with a short (but perhaps not easy for elderly etc) walk? Unfortunately some of the more remote areas don’t even have this option. The walk from Monkton to Minster railway station (potentially under threat) is 30 mins and the number 9 bus which luckily stops at the top of our village stops after 6.40pm, cutting residents off entirely until the next morning. Anyone from Monkton who is likely to be affected by the change to the 42 bus because of their reliance on public transport would be completely unable to get to Birchington at that time. They might possibly be able to walk up Orchard lane (approx. 20mns) which has no pavements and catch the number 8 to Birchington which would require returning in the dark along that unlit country road. We certainly should not be “fighting” over bus services as we need to move towards a less congested, more public transport focused and ultimately cleaner Thanet.
Absolute nonsense to have this meeting in Birchington. We need a day time meeting in Ramsgate where many local residents will be impacted. Consultation should be meaningful! I hope KCC will listen – I shall be pressing them for an additional meeting.
I have emailed the cabinet member at KCC to highlight this meeting being in accessible to bus users from Broadstairs and Ramsgate. I have asked those affected by the possible cuts to do so as well and I have been copied into some excellent, well-argued emails.
Glad they have listened and moved venue to Margate but I am trying still to get it to daytime instead of evening