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Bus driver caught speeding on A20 in Bearsted worked for Stagecoach

A bus company has apologised to its customers after one of its drivers was caught speeding in a Kent village.

The Stagecoach bus was clocked doing 43mph in a 30mph zone in Bearsted, near Maidstone, on Sunday.

The bus was caught doing 43mph in a 30 zone in Bearsted. Picture: Kent Police RPU
The bus was caught doing 43mph in a 30 zone in Bearsted. Picture: Kent Police RPU

The bus had been carrying passengers along the A20 when it was spotted by Kent Police’s Roads Policing Unit.

Operations Manager for Stagecoach, Katherine Jones, said: "This is really disappointing to hear. Speeding is unacceptable and we won't tolerate it. Our drivers are trained to the highest professional driving standards which we expect them to maintain at all times. We will be following this up."

Kent Police says the driver will be subject to a traffic offence report.

Residents from the Bearsted and Thurnham Society say this is not an isolated case and are calling for action to be taken

In a statement, members said: "Many drivers maintain their speed until they “hit” the start of that 30mph section. Despite slowing down, they have to be reminded that they are travelling too fast when they reach the interactive speed limit warning sign.

Residents say Ashford Road near Tesco Express is a speeding hotspot. Picture: Google Street View
Residents say Ashford Road near Tesco Express is a speeding hotspot. Picture: Google Street View

"The Society considers that reducing the speed limit to 50mph or 40mph in advance of the current limit would increase compliance, notably in the vicinity of Church Landway where parents and children cross the road to and from the Scout and Guide huts and Bearsted Woodland Trust and where visibility is often impaired by parked cars.

"The Society will be contacting the three parish councils - Hollingbourne, Thurnham and Bearsted - through which Ashford Road runs from M20 Junction 8 seeking support to approach KCC Highways to undertake a review of the speed limits, and to consider additional means of enforcement should amended limits prove insufficient”.

Bob Warwick, who lives along this stretch of Ashford Road, says the weekends are often worse.

The 70-year-old said: "Exceeding the speed limit in this location is commonplace and when the police set up their hand held radar guns, they get a good haul.

"Most local residents all along Ashford Road complain about it but it's not limited to there. I was speaking to someone who lives on the Green in Bearsted and she said they get it through the village.

Ashford Road, A20, Bearsted near the Woodland Trust
Ashford Road, A20, Bearsted near the Woodland Trust

"It's usually motorbikes at the weekends travelling East, that think the moment they clear the shops by Tesco Express, it's the sign to open the throttle to maximum and ride down the centre of the road at excessive speeds even before clearing the 30mph zone.

"They speed right past the end of our drive. You've only got to be pulling out carefully and you risk getting hit.

"So far there have been no accidents, but sooner or later, someone will lose control and kill a lot of people. Then perhaps we might get some action."

"... it's just a matter of time before there's a serious accident."

Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said he thinks the problem has been made worse by lockdown.

He said: "The A20 is a dangerous road already up to junction 8, with several accident blackspots and a number of fatalities over the years. It's like the wild west at the moment, there's overtaking in the 30mph zone, speeds I'd estimate in excess of 70mph in the 30mph, particularly by motorbikes.

"It really needs proper speed enforcement and a reduced limit between Bearsted and junction 8. I spoke to the policeman at the weekend, and in his opinion it's just a matter of time before there's a serious accident.

"You have the Woodland Trust, the Bowls Club, and the Tennis Club nearby so lots of children and old people cross the road as well as cyclists. Plus the noise from the increased speeds is affecting all of the residents.

"Something needs to be done about it."

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