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Have your say on rural bus services Kent

By Paul Francis

People are being asked to give their views on what rural bus services Kent County Council should keep running and support with subsidies.

The consultation comes after the authority backed away from earlier plans to slash £2 million from its budget after a storm of protest - including from many MPs.

KCC has now launched what it has dubbed "The Big Conversation" inviting views on its rural bus services, with 11 public meetings across the county.

Stock image
Stock image

Cllr Mike Whiting (Con), the politician in charge of the review, says the council is open to new ideas.

"We want to explore how we can improve connectivity for our rural residents and assess the viability of offering different kinds of services.

"That’s why for the next couple of months we’re meeting with all stakeholders – residents, parish councils, operators – and running our 'Big Conversation' programme to see what we could do and get feedback from the people that could run them and use them.

"Once we have explored potential ideas with the market and completed our engagement with residents we will work on developing these ideas.

"We’ll then be working with transport and technology providers to look at how we can develop new ways of delivering rural transport."

There will be 11 public meetings between 7pm and 9pm at:

  • Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street Dover CT16 1DL on June 19.
  • Margate Football Club, Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate, CT9 5QZ on June 21.
  • Elite Venue, Dunkirk Close, Gravesend, DA12 5ND on June 26.
  • STAG Community Arts Centre, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ on July 4.
  • Borough Green Village Hall, Borough Green, TN15 8DG on July 5.
  • University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ, on July 10.
  • Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, Ashford Road, Tenterden, TN30 6LT on July 11.
  • St Mary’s Bay Village Hall, Romney Marsh, TN29 OSW on July 12.
  • High Weald Academy, Angley Road, Cranbrook TN17 2PJ on July 17.
  • UK P Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne ME10 4DE on July 18.
  • Lecture Theatre, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ on July 19

Kent County Council issues over 298,000 concessionary travel bus passes for the elderly and disabled.

Around 97% of journeys in Kent are run by private operators, such as Arriva and Stagecoach, with over 50 operators covering 600 services or routes.

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