Get ready for the return of Thanet’s open top bus

Thanet's open top bus

Thanet’s open top bus is back in action next month.

The Route 69 will run on weekends and bank holidays from May 1 and then daily from 26 July until 5 September.

The route is between Ramsgate Boating Pool and Broadstairs Stone Bay.

Youngsters (aged up to 15) cannot travel on the top-deck without being accompanied by a responsible adult.

The hugely popular service carried more than 13,000 passengers in 2019, but was cancelled last year due to lockdown and travel restrictions.

Locals and visitors will once again be able to enjoy the nostalgic thrill of the seaside ride along a stunning stretch of coastline, initially at weekends and bank holidays.

Operating every hour between Ramsgate and Broadstairs, passengers will be able to hop on and off at bus stops all along the seaside route.

From 26 July to 5 September, the open-top services will run daily for families to enjoy during the summer break.

The Open Top Bus Photo Stagecoach

The Maritime Museum, Ramsgate Tunnels and Lillyputt Mini Golf are among some of the attractions dotted along the route – which stretches from West Cliff Boating Pool and Stone Bay.

The cream and maroon double-decker bus has been designed to replicate the open-top services that were once a popular part of the summer scene in Thanet during the 1960s and 70s.

Customers can travel on the service all day long for £4.50 or £4.20 on the Stagecoach App. Up to four children can travel for as little as £1 each with any adult ticket holder.

Government capacity restrictions are currently in place on all public services buses in England, including open-top services. Passenger numbers will remain limited and customers will be advised to avoid sitting immediately behind or in front of another passenger – even on the top deck. Face coverings are also required to be worn at all times, unless exempt.

The open top bus Photo Trevor Shonk

Danny Millis, Operations Manager at the company’s Thanet depot, said: “We had to cancel our popular open-top service last year due to the pandemic, but we are really excited for its return to the coast this weekend.

“This service helps boost the local economy, while offering a fun activity for people of all ages and we are proud to play a part in this.”

Find a link for the timetable here


  1. Not really Thanet Open Top Bus, more like Ramsgate to Broadstairs OTB. It used to go all round Thanet even into Quex Park, why the short route?

      • I’d certainly use it if it went from Minnis Bay to Ramsgate while clinging as much as possible to the coast (as I believe it once did).

  2. I am not a Bus Driver, but I bet they hate this route. Having to fight their way though Albion Street in Broadstairs, in each direction. Then having to squeeze past the badly parked cars and Motor homes on the Westcliff. Only to find someone has parked in the bus stop by the boating pool.

  3. So many people will again ignored. We have asked Stagecoach the past few years if they will return the Margate – Birchington route or even a full Thanet route but it seems nobody is listening. Ramsgate to Broadstairs is just part of the Thanet Open Top Bus route. It is a very short route but better than nothing.

    • In its current format the service can be run with a single specialist vehicle and driver if its extended then the cost of operation doubles as a second specialist vehicle and driver would be required. It must be remembered that any open top service is operated in addition to the core network so I would guess it would have to make a profit to make it viable.

  4. It always gets too busy with people waiting at stops and bus arrives full ! At least run two buses stagecoach , you have at least two open top buses , and run a half hourly service !

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