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Passenger voices his concern over condition of Arriva buses in Gravesend

By Daniel Green

A regular bus passenger has questioned the state of some of the vehicles after two he was travelling on broke down in the space of a month.

Brian Rapley, 67, of Hillary Avenue, Northfleet, has called on Arriva to look after its older buses after having journeys between Gravesend and Bluewater disrupted last month.

However, the bus company says it maintains its fleet above and beyond the legal requirement and 44 new vehicles were introduced last year.

Brian Ropely was forced to get off a bus after smoke began to appear.
Brian Ropely was forced to get off a bus after smoke began to appear.

Mr Rapley, a retired pharmaceutical worker, was forced to get off after a 483 service broke down in Clive Road, outside Gravesend rail station, and in a separate occasion, on Wednesday, December 20, a bus on the same route was evacuated after smoke started coming out of the back in Thames Way.

After getting off that bus, Mr Rapley walked to Ebbsfleet Station to catch the next one due – a 481 between Valley Drive and Bluewater – but noticed something was not quite right. He believes the suspension was not working properly.

Mr Rapley, who uses buses two to three times a week, said: “Are the buses on the road at the moment fit to be on the road?

“In the last month I have had one bus that we got on in King Street and it broke down in Clive Road.

“I was on the bus in Thames Way and as it was going along, we came to an abrupt stop and the back of it had lots of smoke coming out of it. I didn’t see any flames.

“After we got off that one, people walked around to Ebbsfleet Station.

“The next one that came along, every time it went over a bump, it went bang, bang, bang.

“I am beginning to wonder whether some of the buses that are being used are being maintained by Arriva. I have jokingly had people say to me, ‘Remind me when you are going on a bus so I won’t get on it’.”

Oliver Monahan, area managing director at Arriva Southern Counties, said: “The performance of our vehicles is important to us and so our buses are checked regularly and must adhere to Arriva-specific performance requirements, which exceed legal requirements.

“In 2017, we introduced more than 90 new vehicles in the region, 44 of which were sent to Kent to ensure that we can continue to provide a good service for our customers.”

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