Consultation on changes to three subsidised Thanet bus services delayed

Stagecoach

Consultation on funding cuts for three subsidised Stagecoach bus services in Thanet has been delayed until September.

Changes are proposed for the 39: Sherwood Gardens loop, Dumpton and Nixon Avenue; 42: Windermere Avenue/Rydal Avenue, Nethercourt and the 56: St Peter’s Road/Vicarage Street, St Peter’s and Stone Road/Lanthorne Road/Knights Avenue, Broadstairs.

The 56 was under threat of being axed in September. The three services are subsidised by Kent County Council.

KCC proposals were originally to cut £4 million funding for Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS). Some 78 SNBS contracts looked likely to be axed, including the 41-42a Monkton to Ramsgate service. But, as part of this financial year’s agreed budget  KCC has reduced that cut to £0.45 million.

However, the 39, 42 and 56 are still under threat. Following discussions with Stagecoach the services were expected to move from public subsidy to commercially-operated routes.

Stagecoach said the areas already have similar existing commercial services and could be served by those with some slight network changes.

Consultation

A  public consultation was due to begin in April. This was then moved to May and has now been pushed back to September.

An email sent out today (June 5) to inform Thanet county councillors says: “The planned consultation on the withdrawal of support for the 39,42 and 56 in Thanet has been delayed until the start of September.”

The delay is to allow “further mitigation” from Stagecoach “to be fully developed and included in the consultation document.”

County Councillor Barry Lewis said: “I am delighted that the plans, which I opposed from the beginning, have now been delayed. I will continue to try to make KCC see sense.”

In April hundreds of people turned out to a meeting organised by Beacon ward councillor Jenny Matterface to air their concerns over the changes.

Residents said they were worried about losing more bus services and being housebound for those who cannot walk far enough to get other routes.

Packed: The bus users forum

Cllr Matterface said: “The proposed changes for the 56 that residents were very concerned about would mean areas of Broadstairs and St. Peter’s would have no close route and some parts none at all.

“This would affect their access to the town shops, library, GPs surgeries, Westwood Cross, QEQM and Margate.”

7 Comments

  1. Good news. When they enter consultations again it must be full consultation. That’s means in the areas people will be impacted.

  2. Does show that “People Power” can even get as far as Maidstone on a good day! Need to insist any “consultation” takes place in the area affected and not miles away. Well done to our County and District councillors for pushing this.

  3. If the 56 bus is cancelled this will have a detrimental effect to people living in St Peters, Millmead and parts of the east of margate and the palm bay estate as this could mean extra changes of buses to get to westwood cross, QEQM hospital and doctors surgeries.

    • Indeed. This vital route connects areas without any other public transport. This route links the Chessboard area of Broadstairs where many elderly residents live, with the town centre, the library, GPs, St. Peters, several churches, Westwood Cross QEQM and Margate. Whilst I have heard some say it isn’t well-used those people miss the point as users may only go two or three stops but that short journey is crucial for those passengers. For the past few weeks the route has been disrupted by roadworks due to Virgin Media but let’s hope those whose journeys have been seriously affected. I have had residents in Broadstairs and St. Peter’s say it is their lifeline and not everyone has a private gold-plated pension that enables them to use taxis!l

      • Apologies that comment has lost a line of text and it should have read

        . ‘those whose journeys have been seriously affected can get back to relative normality’.

  4. I’ve recently moved to Manston near spitfire museum I know that it is a rural area but come on this is 2018 I’ve moved here from London it would be nice if the buses on a Saturday ran later and a bus was available on Sundays the only pub is the jolly farmer we need a lititle more variety more people will be moving into this area more new buildings will be built wethere we like it or not this is the way life is I don’t mean great big tower blocks going up as a posed to where I come from I’ve moved away from that infrastructure.but please a few shops away from Westwood a new park maybe also there isn’t a pond or a lake with ducks and fish in it would be nice for young and old to visit.

  5. Good transport services are essential. Glad to see so many people coming out to protect their public transport and councillors getting involved to fight for our services. Bus services help reduce traffic, they allow the elderly to get out and about, and provide a much needed service for people of all ages. I am a proud bus user! I hope everyone continues to fight to save these services. Next: can we get the Loop fares reduced?!

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