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 The withdrawn routes will be replaced with new services and changes to existing commercial services along most sections, says Kent County Council.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.”