A Thanet bus route that was axed by Stagecoach at the end of August will now be combined with an existing service run by Regent Coaches.
The Stagecoach 37 operated a service from Broadstairs to Westwood Cross and Margate but was one of the routes shelved by Stagecoach in a bid to cut costs. Regent Coaches will now take in on in a combined service with the 35 route.
A protest over the cuts, particularly routes 33, 37 and the truncation of route 9, was held outside the company’s depot in Westwood in August with around 70 people turning out to voice their opposition.
A petition with 2693 signatures opposed to the changes was also sent to Stagecoach MD Joel Mitchell.
District and town councillors including Ruth Bailey and Aram Rawf wrote to Mr Mitchell to ask for the cuts to be reconsidered while County and town councillor Ros Binks worked with the transport team at KCC and Regent Coaches to see if a solution could be found for at least one Broadstairs service.
Beacon Road resident Jenny Matterface led a campaign, including the launch of the petition, to show the strength of community upset.
Sam Regent, from Regent Coaches, says a service combining the 35 and 37 routes will now start in December.
He said: “Due to the hard work of the transport team at KCC they have combined our 35 service with the 37 to create the 35/37 service.
“This has meant altering the timetable of the 35 service from an hourly service to a 2 hourly service but has meant that now the people of Broadstairs will have a service again.”
The 35/37, earmarked for a December 5 start, will go from Broadstairs and St Peter’s to Westwood and on to Margate, Westbrook and Westgate.
Residents who have been feeling isolated since the route was axed at the end of August will now be able to get into town, get to their GP and shop without having to use a taxi or rely on friends.
Jenny Matterface who co-ordinated the bus cuts campaign, said “I’m delighted to hear that the route has been reinstated and trust it will be well supported. Hopefully the 33 might at some point be revived as many have felt cut off without their vital link.”
Cllr Binks said: “I’m delighted residents in Broadstairs will once again have a bus route that takes them to all the essentials – hospital, surgeries, station and library as well as the town centre and Westwood Cross.
“They don’t always get much praise, but I would like to give a massive shout-out to Kent County Council’s Public Transport Planners. They came up with a solution and persuaded Regent to go for it.”
Stagecoach said the cuts had been necessary due to a combination of factors, including the end of government emergency covid funding, lower passenger numbers and a national shortage of driving and engineering staff.
Regent Coaches is a family run business based in Whitstable which has been established since 1970.
|Proposed Service 35/37|
|Broadstairs, adj Lindenthorpe Road||10:00||12:00||15:00||17:00|
|Broadstairs, adj Pierremont Hall||10:10||12:10||15:10||17:10|
|St Peter’s, adj Surgery||10:15||12:15||15:15||17:15|
|Broadstairs, adj Fairfield Park||10:17||12:17||15:17||17:17|
|Rumfields, opp The Hawthorns||10:20||12:20||15:20||17:20|
|Westwood, adj Bus Garage||10:26||12:26||15:26||17:26|
|Westwood Cross Shopping Centre (Stop A)||10:28||12:28||15:28||17:28|
|St Peter’s, opp Asda||10:33||12:33||15:33||17:33|
|Margate, adj QEQM Hospital St Peters Road Wing||10:37||12:37||15:37||17:37|
|Margate Cecil Square (Stop H)||10:43||12:43||15:43||17:43|
|Westbrook, adj Bridge Road||10:48||12:48||15:48||17:48|
|Westgate-on-Sea, adj Railway Station||10:51||12:51||15:51||17:51|
|Westgate-on-Sea, opp Mountfield Way||10:57||12:57||15:57||17:57|
|Westgate-on-Sea, opp Mountfield Way||09:00||11:00||14:00||16:00|
|Westgate-on-Sea, adj Carlton Cinema||09:06||11:06||14:06||16:06|
|Westbrook, opp Bridge Road||09:09||11:09||14:09||16:09|
|Margate Cecil Square (Stop E)||09:15||11:15||14:15||16:15|
|Margate, opp QEQM Hospital St Peters Road Wing||09:19||11:19||14:19||16:19|
|St Peter’s, adj Asda||09:24||11:24||14:24||16:24|
|Westwood Cross Shopping Centre (Stop A)||09:29||11:29||14:29||16:29|
|Westwood, opp Bus Garage||09:31||11:31||14:31||16:31|
|Northwood, adj Marrose Avenue||09:38||11:38||14:38||16:38|
|Rumfields, opp Holly Close||09:41||11:41||14:41||16:41|
|Broadstairs, opp Fairfield Park||09:43||11:43||14:43||16:43|
|St Peter’s, adj Surgery||09:48||11:48||14:48||16:48|
|Broadstairs, opp Pierremont Hall||09:52||11:52||14:52||16:52|
|Broadstairs, adj Lindenthorpe Road||09:58||11:58||14:58||16:58|