County council expected to axe Thanet bus routes in bid to make £360k savings

The 39 is one of the services to be changed Photo Steven Saunders

County councillors are expected to approve moves to axe some bus routes in Thanet.

Members of the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee meet on Thursday (January 17) to discuss the plans which will save £360,000 on subsidised bus services across the isle. A further £50,000 will be saved by cutting some services in Sevenoaks.

The decision will affect the 42/42A, 56 and 39/39A services. The withdrawn routes will be replaced with new services and changes to existing commercial services along most sections, says Kent County Council.

A four week consultation on the proposals ran from November-December last year. There were 108 responses from Thanet.

Around 65% were from people aged 65 and over. The majority of responses; approximately 60%, were submitted by women and  65% of responses did not agree with the proposed approach to making the savings.

Objections were received from Cliffsend Parish Council and the Bethesda Medical Centre raising particular concern about the impact on their communities.

The concerns of residents in Cliffsend have been recognised by Stagecoach/KCC and a route amendment option is being developed. For Bethesda Medical Centre, KCC says there remains a ‘dial-a-ride’ scheme operated by Thanet Community Transport which provides access to medical services.

The changes will come into effect in April.


39/39A Dumpton – St Peters Monday to Saturdays (day time and peak) Withdrawal of existing service 39/39A. There are alternative commercial services along most sections of route including the Stagecoach LOOP and service 34. A new service 48 would be introduced serving Sherwood Gardens and Dumpton. KCC saving £70,551

42/42A Monkton – Minster – Ramsgate – Westwood Cross – Margate Monday to Saturday Withdrawal of existing service 42/42A. Service 9 would be diverted via Monkton and Minster providing hourly services to Ramsgate and Broadstairs as well as services to Canterbury in the opposite direction. Stagecoach service 11 will continue to provide a service from Monkton and Minister to Westwood Cross. Cliffsend would have access to service 34 on the Sandwich Road and service 34 would also serve the Nethercourt Estate. KCC saving £102,186 56

56 St. Peters- Ramsgate – Dumpton Monday to Saturdays (off peak) Withdrawal of existing service. Minor adjustments to the commercial network and other subsidised services to mitigate. In addition, a new service 37 would replace most of the route from Broadstairs via St Peters, Westwood Cross and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) to Margate. KCC saving £139,767


Service 39 -Nixon Avenue will no longer be served. Passengers can access LOOP services on Margate Road or service 34 on Allenby Road. In most instances this would mean no more than a 5-minute walk. Newington Road (between Margate Road and Bush Avenue) will no longer be served. Passengers can access service 34 in Bush Avenue/Stirling Way or the LOOP on Margate Road. Northwood Road (between The Silvers and A256) will no longer be served. Passengers can access service 9 from The Silvers or service 34 on A256. Dumpton Sherwood Gardens direct links to Westwood Cross are lost however LOOP services are available along Ramsgate Road and there are connections service 48 connects to the LOOP on Ramsgate Road and at Ramsgate Station.

39A school journey will not be provided. Students will be required to make use of alternative service 933

Service 42 – Cliffsend will no longer receive a direct service through the centre of the village.  Service 9 can be accessed on Canterbury Road West (10-minute walk) and service 43 on Sandwich Road.

42A school journey will no longer operate and students will be required to make use of services 38A, 43, 942, 943.

Service 56 – East Kent Retail Park will no longer be served directly but can be accessed from Westwood Cross Bus Hub.

College Road between the College Road roundabout and Milmead Road will not be served. Passengers can access service 34 and new service 37 on the A255 St Peters Road or service 32 on Milmead Road. Devonshire Gardens will no longer be served. Passengers can access service 8 and LOOP on Northdown Road or revised service 38 on Eastern Esplanade.

County councillor Barry Lewis said: “Kent County Council has yet again screwed Thanet.”

Beacon ward district councillor Jenny Matterface said: “The 56 as a subsidised route is vital for many disabled and elderly residents who use it regularly to get out and about.  Many have told me that if the route is cut once Stagecoach decide not to continue with the replacement 37, they fear becoming isolated.

“We were assured by Craig Mackinlay MP,  at the packed meeting on July 30, that, because so many are dependent on the 56, the service he felt sure would be kept. Well, it has been but it’s a much less frequent service and has to operate commercially. I feel this consultation was a ‘tick box exercise’.

“I would like to thank all those who responded but whose genuine concerns were ignored. We tried but weren’t listened to.”


  1. But I don’t understand! We were told to vote for Brexit and then we would have loadsamoney! Boomtime Britain trading all over the world and having £350 million extra per week for our public services! No problem keeping our bus services going!Yet the cut backs are still going ahead and planned for the distant future. It seems that it doesn’t matter whether we are in the EU or not. The important point is to have a government that makes sure that whatever money we have is put to good use.
    Economic Geography question:
    Question. “Where is the capital of Britain?”
    Answer. “In the offshore bank accounts of the richest 1%”

    • Keefogs. Simple question for you. As an individual with views on everything, why do you feel it necessary to hide behind a pseudonym? What is your name . Tom, Dick,Harry or Steve? I have little time for people who hide their identities.

  2. The worst thing is Kent County Council is a member of the South East Transport plan if you check there website they are a member so they are not really doing that are they?

  3. Sadly County councillors who have no idea of what the real world is like. The consultation didn’t actually tell you that some of Stagecoach’s commercial services (service 33 in particular) would be cut so as to run some of the subsided service.

  4. I cannot see why with the amount of loop buses some can’t go a slightly different route is left at Baird’s hill into/ stairs then back to their route at queen’s rd b/cause they sometimes bunch up half empty.

  5. So to make it clear we’re losing buses the council saves money. Bout time you made the fares fair then as an ammendment. I think our buses are far too expensive for the tariffs in Thanet. I’ve compared to other areas in the county of Kent and ours are more… Cheaper to drive in most cases. After the balls up with Dreamland and the community debt ever increasing my opinion on the city planning department and procedures they follow are near insane and can’t be publicised. We’re doomed

    • Whilst I may accept your point about bus fares – this has to be balanced with the number of people who actually pay out their own money to travel on the bus.

      I am an occasional bus user and from what I have seen, very few actually pay for their journeys. The majority have either an OAP bus pass or a disabled bus pass. Those handing over cash are in the minority.

      If all users paid something towards these services then perhaps cuts would not be necessary. The bus company could “subsidise” loss making routes from the profits made on the Loop.

      Just because somebody is old or disabled should not mean they travel by bus for free. (Train travel is not free – and it is only discounted for the elderly or disabled if they purchase the discount card first).

      Dare I say that too many people expect something for nothing ? We either increase the taxation to pay for free or free travel should be means tested . . .

  6. I am disgusted at the outcome of the consultation, just a tick box exercise, the 56 is vital for my disabled husband, changing a number means nothing less buses going to Mockettts wood surgery with 2 hours in between some of the times and to return to QEQM its a no no after 2pm,why are so many buses going to Minnis bay? 3 that I can see. This is discrimination for disabled people.

    • More likely it is because hardly anybody uses it-whenever I have used it the bus is usually almost empty. Only once have I seen it nearly full.

  7. With the proposed changes to our GPs surgeries how are those patients going to be able to attend their appointments without a decent, reliable and regular service? In addition the new 37 will be far less frequent with a huge gap during the day so passengers using the service will find themselves having to walk, take a taxi or stay home. Those of us in Beacon Road area have lost our 8A replaced by an hourly 33 that often runs virtually empty as it just runs between Margate and Broadstairs and back. How much longer with this underused service survive? Buses should be taken back into public ownership as soon as possible.

  8. I will vote against the cuts, 65per cent voted against the proposals but the “bastard” tories to quote a resident listened to the 28 percent who agreed to the proposals, reverse democracy, it is sham consultation similar to the hospital stroke consultation, Kent tories have declared WAR on Thanet.

  9. I thought the buses were run and own by stagecoach a nation company, and when I pay my fare it went to stagecoach. So how do kcc save money it’s not their buses !!

  10. Oh I get it we pay stagecoach to run buses from our rates/taxes than we pay again when we get on the bus. So we pay twice.

    • KCC pay for the services that don’t make a profit. Stagecoach don’t actually get paid twice. KCC is cutting the funding on these supported services, so only the more lucrative ones will run.
      It’s an example of Conservative Capitalism at its finest.

      • So KCC should during a time of huge cuts to their funding year on year be made to run bus services that lose money because hardly anybody uses them? You will notice it isn’t The Loop. 34 or 8 buses getting the chop because people actually use them in their droves. Afraid 2 men & a dog, or a handful of OAP’S with their free bus passes isn’t going to cut it.

        • Steve, the Loop, 34 and 8 aren’t subsidised because they are run as commercially viable services.and, in fact, the Loop was set-up with government funds under the last Labour government. The three subsidised are ones vital for the elderly who no longer drive. Until now KCC has given a subsidy because it has been felt the routes are needed to prevent residents becoming isolated and then a drain on KCC via Adult Social Care, a KCC area of responsibilyt.

          My concern is for those using the 56 ( I cannot comment on the 39 or 42) becoming house-bound and losing their independence. You may say you don’t see many using it but it is used to get into Broadstairs or from the town to St. Peter’s or Westwood Cross or QEQM. Some may only travel a couple of stops up a hilly part of,town or maybe further.

          Those who live in the bungalows in Hopeville Avenue area will have to walk through the narrow Church Street with a pavement barely wide enough for one person let alone someone walking with sticks or in a wheelchair.

          We have to,hope the replacement services will be used or they won’t be around for long.

  11. Maybe if these people That make decisions about bus services actually had to use them they would be more simpathetic and not so gunho

  12. Trying to save the 56 for which there is no alternatives, I find it strange that it’s replacement the 37 is now extended to Minis Bay to maintain it’s 15 minute service. Minis Bay does not have sufficient passengers to warrant a 15 minute service. As someone who relies on the 56 to get into Broadstairs I am one of the few people who actually pay bus fares. At the bus consultation meeting I found it very sad that nearly all the complaints about the 56’s replacement service were not about it’s reduced frequency, or about the total lack of buses in the afternoon, or it’s spurious trips to Minis Bay but the retiming of the first service from the ‘chessboard’ meaning the O.A.P’s free bus passes will not be valid on it. This is such a selfish attitude. Get the next service, or if you are that desperate to be in Broadstairs by half past nine you could always pay the bus fare as I have to. In fact by actually paying you would help to keep the bus going instead of other farepayers having to subsidise you. You may want something for nothing, I just want a bus service that I’m prepared to pay for.

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