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Arriva 155 temporary route misses key stops

By Alan Smith

A bus company has been slated for a "failure to use common sense" and leaving customers without a service.

Five weeks of roadworks in Aylesford High Street while a new water main is being installed have caused Arriva to implement temporary changes to its 155 service, which usually connects Chatham to Maidstone via Rochester, Borstal, Wouldham, Eccles, Burham and Ringlestone.

But two weeks into the alteration, residents in the Medway villages of Eccles, Burham and Wouldham say the new route is not working for them.

The 155 service
The 155 service

Anna Morell said: "This diversion only affects a small stretch of road in Aylesford. The bus travels up the Rochester Road, which is fine, and joins the A229. This is where things go very wrong.

"The bus could go down onto the A229 junction to come back up the ramp to take the bus up to the Running Horse stop outside the Harvester pub, or in the other direction, outside the Village Hotel, but it does not.

"Neither does it stop at the BP garage footbridge or the BP garage.

"This means the next available bus stop from Aylesford is Springfield, although drivers have told me that they have to run direct to Maidstone East station, also skipping Springfield stop and the Kent History Centre stop.

"Anyone wanting to get to work in Forstal Lane, or visit the Village Hotel, Kent life or the Malta Inn now can't do so."

Mrs Morrell, who has a disability and has to use walking frame, is cross because she said it would be an easy matter for the bus to turn off the main road at the Running Horse roundabout to stop there. She is used to using the gym at the Village Hotel for physiotherapy.

She said: "We will be stranded for another three weeks for no real reason."

Aylesford Parish Council has been recording complaints about the 155 service, but said it had not had any specifically about the temporary route. The clerk said the council had received complaints about late buses and cancellations over many months and was seeking a joint meeting with Wouldham and Eccles parish councils, KCC and Arriva to try to resolve the issues.

An Arriva spokeswoman said: “As a result of the Aylesford road closure, the 155 service has had to follow a lengthy diversion, resulting in a re-route to the service.

"We have chosen the route that serves the majority of our customers, with minimal disruption. "However, there is still difficulty servicing the Running Horse and Ringlestone stops, so a dedicated shuttle bus has been put in place.

“This diversion is temporary and will continue for a few more weeks until the roadworks are complete.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused to Mrs Morrell and any of our other passengers who have been impacted, and we will continue to update our passengers on any further road closures that might impact the 155 service.”

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