A demonstration protesting at cuts to bus services in Thanet will be held outside the Stagecoach depot at Westwood on Tuesday (August 16).
There is rising local anger about the axing of Stagecoach routes 33 and 37 and the truncation of route 9 from the end of August.
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.
There are a number of other bus route changes that will also take effect from August 28
Find the full list of changes here
Unite the Union Retired Members will be outside the Stagecoach bus depot on Margate Road, on public land, on Tuesday from 10.30am to 12.30pm to highlight the impact the cuts will have on people in Thanet and especially Broadstairs and St. Peter’s where large areas will have no bus service if the cuts go ahead.
An online petition has nearly 2500 signatures and paper copies have already collected hundreds of names from those without access to the internet.
Beacon Road resident Jenny Matterface, who previously represented the ward on the district council, is involved in the petition which has gained more than 2,500 signatures.
She said: “The cuts will mean many who currently live independently will find themselves unable to get out and about unless they can afford taxis. ‘Do they expect us to stay home until we die?’ was one quote from an elderly resident.”
The cut to the number 9 route between Monkton and Canterbury is also a huge blow to Monkton Nature Reserve and those who would like to visit but do not drive.
Dr Clive Nuttman, who is adviser to the Trustees at Thanet Countryside Trust which manages the reserve, said: “Details of the recent reduction in bus services by Stagecoach have been met with dismay at Monkton Nature Reserve.
“The loss of the number 9 route between Monkton and Canterbury is a blow to visitors and volunteers alike.
“The loss of buses to the request stop at the reserve entrance means that volunteers face the prospect of a 15-minute walk on unpedestrianised roads to reach the reserve.
“The already dangerous A253 from Willett’s Hill represents a difficult prospect for pedestrians.
“This news could not have come at a worse time for the trust; outreach efforts towards residents of Thanet who lack good access to green spaces have included partnering with schools to encourage families to visit the reserve by bus and schemes had been set up with Cliftonville Primary School and Forelands Field School.
“We had started to receive visits from families to see where their children enjoy outdoor learning during term time and the impending loss of the bus service is a blow to our community work.”
Independent Broadstairs councillor Ruth Bailey has written to Stagecoach and South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay with accounts from residents who will suffer due to the cut in services.
In response Stagecoach MD Joel Mitchell told her “last minute discussions” are taking place with Kent County Council about the services.
Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council says it is committed to supporting existing bus routes and is disappointed at the planned cuts.
Cllr Bob Bayford, Chairman of the Environment Sub-committee says, “There appears to have been no consultation about these changes or recognition of the consequences for local people.
“They leave large areas of Broadstairs with no local bus service and expecting everyone, particularly those with mobility issues, to be able to access the Loop bus service is just not practical.
“The move is counterproductive and flies in the face of the carbon emissions targets we have set as a nation. The Town Council takes the issue of climate change and the journey to net zero very seriously and is disappointed by these latest developments.”
The Town Council has raised its concerns with Stagecoach and Craig Mackinlay MP.
Joel Mitchell, Managing Director of Stagecoach South East, said: “We’ve done everything we can to protect services since the pandemic.
“We want to regenerate our customer base and bring people back to using buses as quickly as possible so we can expand our networks, but before we can do that, we’ve got to make some difficult decisions, working closely with the County Council, to agree a new network that reflects fundamental changes to people’s travel habits brought about by the pandemic. This network review is also a condition of government recovery funding for bus services across England.
“Where some services are reduced, it’s a tough decision, because we know the impact it may have on individual people, but this new network for Thanet is designed to protect core connections and operate them on a sustainable basis against a backdrop of rising costs and labour challenges across the UK economy.
“We remain absolutely committed to working with our local authority partners, as well as other stakeholders, to deliver the best bus networks we can for local communities. Looking ahead, our aim is to grow the network by encouraging more people to switch from car to bus, benefitting our economy, the health and well-being of citizens and our environment.”
The petition will be delivered to Mr Mitchell.
Stagecoach the modern highwaymen …
3.10 Garlinge to Cecil sq… If it turns up that is…Dick Turpin lives
Absolutely disgusting this is what happens when stagecoach was sold to an EU operator fully support Jenny Matterface on the petition who supported my efforts with the Thanet travel forum which I chaired for years stagecoach at the time was difficult enough then we ended up with the best bus services in Kent these services should have been put out to tender by KCC when surely they must have been told about this there is other companies that would have been happy to take the work on from stagecoach keep up the fight everyone.
Any service that is used by people should be operated by the government.
And that includes bus services, and water services.
All these companies are interested in is making as much profit as possible they don’t care about the people who need these services. The government, or local authority should take all the services back under their control.
2500 signatures maybe could all chip in with let’s say £5 that would buy a good minibus then a volunteer could run those small numbers who really use the service around
I have been on many 9 busses over the last 10 years and never has it stopped at Monkton nature reserve so this is a very rare occasion. We can’t use one offs to justify how services can run sustainably.
We need a transport for kent plan to take away the near monopoly of arriva/ stagecoach where profits go to german shareholders instead of providing a proper bus SERVICE. Kent county council is asleep at the wheel
No change there then, Councillor B Lewis.
It is so rare for our council or indeed any council to listen to the opinions of the local taxpayers be it issues with transport, education and the local environment. Seriously lacking common sense in favour of social climbing.
Thanet council is hopeless.
And they don’t bother to answer emails, because I’ve sent several, with no reply.
Honestly these 2500 demonstrators would be far more productive in doing it against energy suppliers this is going to effect far more people than an odd taxi fare. The robbing energy companies are going to cause more trouble than this. We should all be more concerned in this area if we need to save money and poverty.
This may come as a surprise but it’s actually possible to feel strongly about more than one issue at the same time.
Think the reduction of bus service us to do with lower passenger numbers, government funding tapering off(ending), higher operating costs and more.
Was told that by a loop driver. were doomed
Regarding the 9, can’t they go as far as Sarre instead of Monkton? That way, people in Minster/Monkton could still travel to/from Canterbury, albeit by changing buses.
Interesting and valid point. Maybe run the service 9 to Sturry enabling passengers travelling onward on the buses from Herne Bay, Margate, and Whitstable. Just a thought 🤔
Exactly, try to reach a compromise.
Bus journeys are down on pre-covid levels 1.4bn compared to 2.0bn in non metro areas. Bus journeys have been steadily decreasing for years, because consistent above inflation fares increases, poor service levels ,a lack of promotion and the buses themselves that have all the comfort of riding on a roller skate.However this is a lagging indicator based on figures posted on 26th June for the previous quarter Jan -Marc 2022.There was a genuine reluctance to travel because of covid, which has since changed because the fear of covid is much less.I would suggest that passenger journeys may well have returned to something like pre-covid levels.
Stagecoach SE head office is now 100 miles nearer in Frankfurt than its previous HQ in Perth.
Bus operators are traditionalists and they believe there is only one way of operating a bus service, which is what they have been doing since the interwar years.
To those who say nothing can be done, I would say what about the 19% of people in the UK without access to motor transport? This figure will grow, as older drivers cease driving due to illness, impairment etc. Are we saying that these persons should have non-lives, and have no access to the outside world?
What about road safety? This online paper reports at least one RTA, every day and usually more.The accident rate is increasing.What about the environment, energy costs, poverty? A bus can assist in all these areas.What about congestion? Are taking buses off the road going to improve traffic flows? Probably not!
The airline industry has had billions thrown at it over furlough, and special treatment to keep airports during the pandemic and what did they do? They spent millions on advertising and then found they could not handle the traffic available to them.
How many bus promotion adverts, special deals and lower bus fares have you experienced? I think that might be none.
Central Govt promised to bus back better, but only put in a fraction of the cash required.
What will KCC do with their Bus Improvement money? Probably more computerised ring and rides, which will help only a few, will cost a fortune, and will mainly benefit the IT companies behind the bus demand algorithms.
What we need to do is take the Bus Back Better mantra and deliver it as stated on the packet, What we don’t want a cut price ,half baked series of ring and ride servicers, that will fail within 6 months.
Whatabout, whataboutery, George?
You’re right about public transport, George Nokes. This is what should be vastly improved and made cheaper. Driving private cars, and flying, should be much more expensive.
That is stupid comment to make about driving private cars, you obviously don’t drive, so don’t have a poke at car drivers.
But the bus services should be improved for the sake of everyone.
Have you ever heard of the the term TLDR, Mr Nokes? I was falling asleep at the wheel, so I guess there’s no point in apply for a bus driver [career:strike that] job.
There aren’t enough drivers who want to do this job of courting thankless passengers for long hours and low pay.
Random protestations and forum noise will come to nothing, since bus companies are private and there’s no obligation to maintain unprofitable service/routes.
I always thank drivers.
Yes I always thank the bus drivers when alighting the bus, as do many other passengers also. It is very much appreciated by the bus drivers themselves.
I’ve just had a call from an elderly resident who told me she won’t be able to get to her GPs surgery, to go shopping or to go her regular social commitments like her lunch club because the bus she relies on is one of those being removed unless there is a change in the proposed cuts. She quite rightly said it will lead to greater isolation among our elderly residents and loss of independence. She is absolutely right.
i thought most people in thanet use mobility scooters anyway , or certainly the morbidly obese do
Nothing of any value to say? – say nothing is always a good idea.
What an appalling decision!! I rely on the buses , taxi fares has gone up! It will also mean people will be using and buying more cars, have they thought about “fossil fuel”? And how are they harming the environment?
Forget about the cows farting that harm the environment. During lockdown there were fewer cars on the road and I remember how clean the air was!!! Obviously they already forgot.
Let’s hope our MP can help with the petition, I hope he can speak up for all of us who absolutely rely on public transport!
Unfortunately it will fall on deaf ears .
Kcc have decided to end the funding of these routes which then makes them unviable due to costs in wages , fuel amongst other things .
These changes come in on 28th and I think there will be no change of the plans unless KCC keep subsidies going and more people use the service , the numbers are monitoring customer use so they know exactly how many are on the bus .
We need leadership from kent county council, leading from the front, lowering fares, more frequent buses, more reliably, leading to more passengers, increased revenue
I totally agree Cllr Barry Lewis .
The thing is over 2500 signatures on this petition but how many of this figure actually use the services that are being axed , probably not even 3/4 of them .
And let’s say the KCC did manage to salvage it they would expect the 2500 to use the service but we know it’s not going to happen .
D, The Thanet routes aren’t subsidised. KCC say even if other providers come forward there is no money to help them run the routes.
D, The people who signed do use the buses. They live at Kingsgate, Chessboard area, St. Peter’s, Dumpton, Minster and rely on buses to get anywhere. I have had elderly residents in tears on the phone wondering how they will cope if the bus goes.
It is a nonsense for Stagecoach to say they can use an alternative route when there clearly isn’t one for many.
D. By lowering fares more people will use these buses instead of taxis and cars, less pollution, less traffic , self financing as it costs no more to run a bus with 50 people aboard compared with 10. London and cornwall both have different transport policy to kents based on need not just shareholders profits.At the end of the day you can’t control what you don’t own
There is not a business in uk that can keep running at a loss or it goes bust. If someone buys something then straight after is asked to pay 5 times more for it again you wouldn’t buy again. In the current climate and fuel costs I can imagine that most busses are close to running at losses its got to be sustainable. Or all routes would be in danger of being cut or companies going bust.
This would never have happened when
East Kent Road Car Company ran the bus service ( If anyone can remember that far back )
They were also the days of far fewer cars, when people would go by bus to do their shopping (and I say this as a non-driver and bus/train user).
Those were the days when the Traffic Commissioners controlled public transport, such as East Kent and Maidstone & District.
Some of these busses are running with up to 5 people ie 37 and sometimes no passengers at all from margate to broadstairs and the same for the 33 from ramsgate to margate. Where have all the names on petition been. Its not a sustainable service to run with such low numbers. The bus company must know how many people use a service on a regular basis because all travel is counted by machines we log onto when getting busses. The numbers can’t lie. So 2500 signatures really.
Unfortunately, those 5 people wold probably be completely cut off from shops, doctors, etc, without that bus.
Why can’t they extend the freedom pass to the use of the rail to a certain outer area like it it is London.where you get use of the underground as well it’s always seemed unfair it me.
Kzth, because there is a transport for london run by the local authority unlike in Kent where public transport is controlled by private shareholders
I think your comment sums it all up in a nutshell. “Controlled by private shareholders”
Relatively small number of passengers who badly need buses … so why not run smaller buses? And they’d make sense on busy roads. I guess smaller vehicles would not mean significant savings(?)
On the front page of this website, there is yet another awful car crash.Having a bus service won’t stop that happening, but a reliable, comfortable, cheap and frequent bus service, is an incentive for car drivers to leave the car at home, or perhaps not even own one in the first place.It has to be carrot and stick, not just stick and a carrot which is long past its sell by date, and is overpriced.
If everyone has easy access to bus, tram,train,cycle or walking, we can then restrict car use,redevelop car parks,cut pollution, and reduce carbon emissions.
What traffic there is will flow more freely, and buses will be more reliable.
I am afraid for the petrol heads in our community, nemesis is knocking on the door, we cannot continue like this.Electric vehicles are not the answer, switching away from cars for every journey is what will have to happen.
It would be better to do it now by steady degrees,rather than institute draconian measures later on.
19% of the population of 66m is 12.5m, that’s one and half times the population of London or 5 counties the size of Kent,Clarina.Not a relatively small number.That figure is going to increase as the baby boomers become older and more frail.
The cuts to the 9/9X services are particularly severe. There will only be one early morning trip to Canterbury & two return afternoon trips. The no.9 to Minster & Monkton will only run from 9.00am to 2.00pm.
Cutting the 9 so drastically will impact on anyone needing to get to Kent and Canterbury Hospital and students going to any of the colleges or universities there. It’ll affect many who work in Canterbury and any who may not be able to afford the train fares.
just proves stagecoach dont care about people only money because they have not got the staff so one of there ideas is to cut services to save how much is being cut allover the drivers do a great job higher up management is the biggest problem not a clue what they are doing!!
How the hell do i gwt to work from ramsgate to canterbury if 9 bus dont operate in early mornings as im a postie