Call for district council meeting with Stagecoach over bus route cuts

Route cuts and timetable changes planned for Thanet

Thanet Labour councillors say they want bus operator Stagecoach to meet elected members of the district council urgently to address rising local anger about the axing of routes 33 and 37 and the truncation of route 9 from the end of August.

Activists and ward councillors have reported huge discontent, with 1,200 signatures already gathered on a petition against the changes, mainly from residents in Broadstairs and Palm Bay.

The 33 bus currently runs hourly from Monday to Saturday on a coastal route between Margate and Ramsgate via Broadstairs. The 37 operates a more limited service from Broadstairs to Westwood Cross and Margate, while the 9 goes from Westwood Cross via Broadstairs to Ramsgate, Nethercourt, Cliffsend, Minster and Monkton before continuing to Canterbury. From August 28, it will turn around at Monkton, although the 9X will continue some peak period journeys to Canterbury.

Beacon Road resident Jenny Matterface, who previously represented the ward on the district council, is involved in the petition which has gained more than 1,200 signatures in a week and is supported by current Labour ward councillor Aram Rawf, who has already spoken out on the issue.

Jenny said: “This decision will mean swathes of our elderly and disabled residents are cut off from what makes life worth living. I am getting loads of emails and calls from some very worried people.

“From August 29, residents in Ramsgate and Broadstairs will no longer have a direct bus link to Canterbury outside peak hours. It isn’t clear from the Stagecoach website if the residual route 9 will even serve Broadstairs, so that is important to clarify. This is a bus used by many to get to Westwood Cross as well as Canterbury.

“I have heard some say they may have to change their hours if they can’t get to various workplaces. The main issue for many – and not just the elderly – is that the bus is a more environmentally friendly way to travel than using a car.”

Although bus services are not overseen by district councils, Thanet’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel (OSP) has a special remit to examine issues of concern to the community beyond TDC services and responsibilities, and Labour councillors say they will seek cross-party support to do so on the bus cuts.

Committee member Cllr Heather Keen said: “We want to look in detail at the impact these cuts will have on our local community. There are concerns that people who can’t drive or have limited mobility will be severely affected.

“The way this matter has been approached, with very little warning and no consultation, is completely unacceptable. Stagecoach may be a private company but buses are very much a public service and these routes are vital to many.

“As district councillors part of our role is to listen to residents, speak directly to decision-makers and make sure the public’s voice is heard. We believe this can be done through the council’s scrutiny process, and we hope that Stagecoach will participate, but even if they refuse we can provide a platform for residents, who are able to speak at scrutiny meetings.”

The proposal for a meeting will be put forward at tonight’s OSP meeting, which takes place at the council offices in Cecil Square from 7pm. It is open to the public and available to be viewed online via

The petition will be delivered to Mr Mitchell.

Find the petition by clicking here 

Petition launched in bid to halt cuts to Thanet Stagecoach services


  1. All these companies are interested in is making as much profit as possible.
    They aren’t bothered about people.

  2. These cuts need to be opposed, as the routes concerned are quite well used, but we cannot expect bus companies to run services which aren’t profitable. It is the duty of Kent County Council to step in and provide ‘socially necessary’ bus services which cannot be provided commercially. Stagecoach’s ‘Network Review’ will have been done in partnership with KCC but so far they have been completely silent on the matter!

  3. Its not long ago that a huge petition and meetings to keep 37 to no avail. This bus gives people access to the Mocketts Wood surgery so as they are mainly elderly what are they supposed to do. My husband who is now deceased used this service twice a day to get to Broadstairs, this is the only bus that goes to Broadstairs from St Peters Rd.Profit is what its all about.

      • No.
        Public bus services should be run by Local Authorities. Although finance is of concern, there is more to running a bus service than money. Buses have a huge social and welfare benefit, too.

    • It was four years ago when the 56 was under threat. We managed to persuade Stagecoach to keep it running with some changes including its number. It is now the 37. If it goes many elderly residents will lose their only accessible bus route.

  4. Do you honestly think Stagecoach will give any interest in what T.D.C. will say. No they only want to line their own pockets, like most companies , and T.D.C. nowadays. No one cares about Joe Public.

  5. It would be good if the buses were able to run to their published schedule. Too often the Loop stops for ages at the Lidl garage and it regularly takes over an hour to get from the harbour to qeqm. Start running the buses on time and you might get more regular customers.

    • I can’t think of any reason whatsoever why a bus company would deliberately run buses late.
      I can understand that when the streets a jammed with cars, it slows buses down. I can understand that if the road is unexpectedly clear, or there are fewer passengers than usual, the bus might get ahead of the timetable, so it waits at a bus stop for a couple of minutes fir the timetable to “catch up”

  6. We need a Transport for kent organisation similar to cornwall and Manchester, where buses are busier because of more useage due to lower prices and more regular bus times and oyster type cards. Its a bus SERVICE not a profit run service. Lower prices equals more revenue as proved when London Underground cut prices under ken livingstone

  7. Perhaps if the traveling public reverted back and supported the smaller privately owned bus services things would change. The Horse and Carriage company from Scotland drove all privately owned companies to the wall by either under cutting or buying them out. Now we are either forced to pay higher prices to the Horse and Carriage company, or we subsidise them through our property taxes. One way or another it is the general public that pay

    • The tory government deregulated the nations bus service decades ago. This lead to a free-for-all of frenzied undercutting, until only the major predators were left.
      (An example of things to come, if Miss Truss becomes PM)

  8. So many still working from home or walk to an internet hub -coffee shop or a pub.
    So revenues are down = services will be reduced except for school run times.
    Large employers similar to kcc not excluding others should consider an audit to work out how much each employee is saving from working at home/hub. Then require the wfh to take a pay holiday in favour of those that have to travel to work. The pay holiday could fund essential travel.
    WFH is often seen as a salary increase.
    The idea of casual part time bus drivers doing 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Its all part of broken Britain.

    Sadly it will affect many but labour party are all talk, so far behind when they should be ahead.

    London TFL have problems, their adjusting schedules on underground and bus network~woke from home’s again.

    Why cant the labour party supply funds for essential transport through a uk mutual company or a Venezuela coffee company. Bring back Corbyn, ditch that sir . Bring back Proper labour.

    Were doomed!

  9. “Work from home”, or “Spend more time in the pub/on the beach” as I prefer to call it!

    As an author, I nearly always WFH, but with my old “proper” jobs (scaffolder, doorman, working in shops, washing up in hotels, life model) that wouldn’t have been possible, and I suspect it isn’t for the vast majority of Thanet workers that would normally travel to work by bus.

    Probably a bigger factor in less bus use is the increase of home deliveries in shopping, as well as online deliveries. People just don’t jump on buses to shops like they used to (how often do you see people get on a bus with several bags of shopping these days?).

    • I always thought you were made from old cardboard boxes like Boris Johnson’s bus models, and now you have outed yourself. ‘Life Model’ indeed.
      You could do that from home via the internet thingy,I am led to understand that there are special sites catering for this work.

  10. Regarding the truncation of route 9, it makes little sense to do so in Monkton. Why not go as far as Sarre instead? That way residents of Minster/Monkton can at least still get to Canterbury, even if they have to change buses on to route 8.

  11. Some very valid points there Peter.

    The key question is ‘what is Kent County Council going to do to provide replacement services’?

  12. With more people deciding to get rid of their cars due to ever increasing fuel, energy and general living costs it makes no sense for stagecoach to cut local bus services. I sincerely hope the company will accept the invitation from the councils Overview & Scrutiny committee of which I am a member, to meet and discuss alternative action before these cuts are implemented.

  13. Good news the Head Office for Stagecoach is 100 miles nearer than it was before.
    Bad news it is in Frankfurt! How’s that for retaining sovereignty!

    Look, do you think DWS are the least bit interested in provincial services in South East England?
    What they are interested in the Sheffield Super Tram expansion and running buses in London, which is why after Souter bellyached about franchising for years, Stagecoach just bought a competitor in London for £20m.
    Stagecoach SE is an annoying outlier operation to DWS. I suspect that Stagecoach SE have been told to cut operating mileage and they have done it without thought or care.
    The best thing for Stagecoach SE is to sell it to Arriva and then have one major operator (another German owned business).
    KCC are asleep on the job and too busy to sort out this mess because they are busy working out how they will spend the £35.1m they received to ‘improve’ bus services. Unbelievable but true. As fast as KCC ‘improves’ bus services, they, Arriva and Stagecoach, are cutting 52 services, so far this year, how’s that for an improvement!
    I hate to be socialist, but I think we need an England Provincial Bus Company, which will run services in non metro areas, rather like Great British Trains. It could do this for a fraction of the money GBR and network Rail cost the exchequer.
    I would negotiate with DB who own Arriva,DWS, and the outfit who now owns Go Ahead to sell all their provincial operations to this new company.If they don’t, or jib over the price, all support drops away everywhere and will be replaced with Provincial buses, plus they will receive a visit from the HMRC. I would use Putin’s playbook to make them see sense.At the moment they are receiving funding via BSOG and the concession cards cash, so they are substantially funded by the state anyway.

  14. If only those people who have signed the petition 1200, would have used the 33 or 37, they would probably still be operating. Both services pick so few passengers, but the bus drivers face constant abuse from car drivers, when turning at st Peters, parking on the double yellow lines painted on the road to facilitate the turnaround.

    • I believe that anyone who lives in Thanet and regularly uses buses are signing this petition without any hypocrisy. Me personally? I’ve only used the 33 a couple of times, but I travel on the 37 (as well as the 8) on average a couple of times per week.

    • Whilst appalling the behaviour of drivers towards the bus trying to turn in the Hopeville Avenue car park, is hardly going to be a reason for cancelling the route.

      There are always passengers waiting for that bus outside the Co-op, mainly elderly residents, who would otherwise be without any access to public transport.

      It is used as is the 33 but why shouldn’t a bus company, if run for profit, not cross-subsidise a few routes?

  15. Ramsgate seems to have failed to notice that these proposals will see the end of any bus service to Canterbury outside of peak times.

    How would they suppose folks get to the bus depot to change to get to the hospital? Walk the 1.1m up to the depot from the rail station?

    How can a town of 40,000 be removed from having a bus connection?

    Utterly shocking.

    • The journey by train from Ramsgate to Canterbury takes 19 minutes (or 22 minutes on the “slow” train). So it’s nowhere near as serious as the complete loss of ANY public transport links in St. Peters or Preston.

      • Peter it isn’t a race to the bottom, let’s not compete for what the worst cut might be. I’m making the point that Ramsgate seems almost silent.

        Also, to your point on the trains. A person has to get to the station, invariably by bus, and then walk over 1 mile up to the Canterbury bus station to connect with a bus for the hospital. This is not humane, especially for older or disabled folks. And to cut off an entire town seems absolutely ludicrous.

        Buses are a public service. We can’t just have crammed routes and that’s ok. Let’s hope the campaign gathers more momentum.

  16. The big thing about using trains is that they generally run to a strict timetable and can be relied upon. Even the LOOP is dreadfully unreliable despite it being a simple concept of going round in a circle. We try to catch the bus near Waitrose to go to Westwood or Qeqm, yet often wait 45 minutes then 3 arrive together and they all then stop for a break at Lidl. Not being able to rely on a timed service is the kiss of death to any bus service. Stagecoach appears to not be able to run a timed service. Rather poor management me thinks.

  17. Kent County Council needs to step in to fill the gaps eg with financial support to restore the off peak 9 to Canterbury by extending the route onwards from Monkton. Real hardship will be caused on all of these routes if some sort of replacements aren’t provided.
    Yes, the Loop is extremely unreliable. I’ve heard unofficially that Stagecoach is aware of its shortcomings and says that the spacing of buses will be improved. Let’s hope it’s soon! Ironically it is to become a ‘Superbus’ route using ‘Bus Service Improvement Plan’ funding. BSIP funding is not permitted to be used to prop up existing loss making services!

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