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Passengers' anger at new Arriva Sheppey bus timetable

A new bus timetable has created a flood of complaints from passengers.

Arriva introduced the changes this month mainly to the 360. which links Sheerness and Rushenden to Minster, Eastchurch and Leysdown and 361 linking Sheerness and Queensway to Queenborough and Rushenden to "improve reliability" following the axing of the 362.

But they have upset customers including retired bus driver Alan Stone from Belmont Road, Halfway.

Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Caroline Lind (15120218)
Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Caroline Lind (15120218)

Mr Stone, 84, complained: "There used to be four an hour along the Halfway Road. Now there is only one. I waited half an hour for one then gave up and went home.

"I didn't know anything about the changes until my neighbour told me. You expect a bus to be there when you need it."

Caroline Lind of Medway Road stormed: "I waited half-an-hour for the 361 at Queensway then had to get a taxi. It is disgusting. The service should go back to how it was.

Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Caroline Lind (15120207)
Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Caroline Lind (15120207)

"There are a lot of people moaning about it. It is a nightmare. It's not the drivers' fault. They have not been given enough time to complete the journeys. So far, none of them have run on time.

"It looks like the time-table was drawn up by 23-year-olds fresh out of university who have never ridden on a bus in their lives."

Linda Astill, 66, of St George's Avenue, warned: "It is crazy. I daren't think what will happen when the kids go back to school in September. Sometimes the buses turn up, sometimes they don't.

Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Lorraine Aird (15120241)
Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Lorraine Aird (15120241)

"People are up in arms. They should have left the timetable alone."

Lorraine Aird of Power Station Road, Halfway, said: "There used to be two buses out of the town every hour and now there's only one. Instead of five minutes to get home, it takes 30. Even the bus drivers have the hump with it."

Joan McCarthy of Halfway Road, Halfway, said: "The buses have been reduced to one every hour and they're absolutely packed. Passengers weren't asked about this, it just went straight to the new timetable."

Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Joan McCarthy (15120233)
Bus timetable problems on Sheppey for Joan McCarthy (15120233)

The changes were introduced on Sunday, July 28.

A spokesman for Arriva said: "Both the 360 and 361 routes have been revised. Due to circumstances outside of our control, buses are not always able to run true to timetable.

"Issues in Leysdown, in particular, which are normally caused by the influx of holiday-makers on the roads make it difficult for buses to get through.

"These delays are hard to predict and often depend on where people park their vehicles. As a business, we are continually looking at ways to improve our services, liaising with local authorities on a regular basis.

"However, we fully understand that delays to services can be frustrating for passengers, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused."

The changes

Arriva new bus timetable (15326748)
Arriva new bus timetable (15326748)

360/362: Leysdown – Eastchurch – Minster – Halfway – Sheerness – Halfway – Queenborough – Rushenden

These services have been combined with service 361 serving Queensway. Minster is being served by the 334 which runs more frequently from Monday to Saturday with a new hourly service on Sundays.

The 362 has been discontinued. Queenborough and Rushenden is being served by the 361 during off-peak periods.

The 360 is running hourly from Monday to Saturday from Queensway via Sheerness, Halfway, Sheppey Hospital, Minster High Street and Eastchurch to Leysdown.

Morning buses towards Leysdown will no longer serve Warden Bay and buses returning from Leysdown in the afternoon towards Sheerness will no longer stop at Warden Bay.

Morning customers wanting to go to Warden Bay should stay on the bus to Leysdown and get off at Warden Bay on the return journey to Sheerness.

Afternoon customers from Warden Bay wanting to travel towards Eastchurch, Minster and Sheerness should catch the bus on its way to Leysdown and then stay on board on its return to Sheerness.

Minster Broadway will be served by the 334. Wards Hill Road and Queen’s Road at Minster will be served by the 367 between Sheerness and Warden Point.

361: Sheerness – Queensway

This now runs hourly from Queensway via Sheerness, Halfway and Queenborough to Rushenden, replacing the 360/362 between Sheerness and Rushenden. The 360 has been extended beyond Sheerness to serve Queensway.

Between them, the 360 and 361 services provide two buses an hour to Queensway throughout the main part of the day and hourly at peak times. The 361 also serves Edenbridge Drive.

365: Sheerness – Isle of Academy East – Queenborough – Rushenden. No change.

367: Sheerness – Minster – Eastchurch – Warden Point.

This route now runs via Wards Hill Road and Queen’s Road, Minster, as a partial replacement for the 362 which no longer runs. Buses on this route are running earlier.

368: Minster – Sheppey Hospital – Queenborough - Rushenden. No change.

333: Maidstone – Sittingbourne – Faversham – Bysing Wood – Davington

This service now only runs between Sittingbourne and Faversham and is replaced between Sittingbourne and Maidstone by the 334 which runs every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sundays

In Faversham, buses terminate at and start from Tesco and no longer serve Davington or Bysing Wood. Sunday buses will run more frequently giving an hourly service between Sittingbourne and Faversham

334: Maidstone – Sittingbourne – Iwade – Minster – Sheerness

This now runs every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday replacing the 333 between Sittingbourne and Maidstone giving a more frequent service between Sheerness and Sittingbourne

At Maidstone, buses run direct via Sittingbourne Road between the town centre and the Chiltern Hundreds instead of via Vinters Park. Service 9 will continue to serve Vinters Park. A new hourly Sunday service runs between Sheerness and Maidstone.

341: Sheerness – Iwade – Sittingbourne – Northwood Drive

The morning and afternoon school buses continue to run but to a revised timetable to "improve reliability." Journeys between Sittingbourne and Northwood Drive have been abandoned because of low passenger numbers.

347: Sittingbourne – Chalkwell – Milton Regis – Kemsley

The main daytime service from Monday to Saturday now runs every 20 minutes. All buses will run via Newman Drive but only on the way to Kemsley. Passengers from Newman Drive wanting to go to Sittingbourne must board the bus on its way to Kemsley.

349: Sittingbourne – Murston – Great Easthall

The Monday to Friday morning peak journeys from Sittingbourne have been renumbered 348 and run via the Eurolink industrial area to Great Easthall providing a new connection from Sittingbourne Station to Eurolink. This does not stop at Snipeshill or Murston. On weekday afternoons the same thing happens in reverse. The late afternoon buses from Great Easthall to Sittingbourne have been renumbered 348, and will run via Eurolink instead of via Murston and Snipeshill.

On Saturdays, all routes will continue to run as 349 services via Snipeshill and Murston. There is no Sunday service on this route

351: Iwade – Sittingbourne – Sittingbourne Community College

The school-time service between Iwade and Sittingbourne Community College has been stopped but an alternative service is provided by the 334 which picks up in Iwade at 7.41am and arrives at the college at 8.11am.

647: Iwade – Milton Regis – Chalkwell – Sittingbourne – Sittingbourne Community College

The times have been adjusted to "improve reliability." The route has been altered to serve Newman Drive and Ridham Avenue

For more information about Arriva Swale buses click here.

Read more Sheppey stories here.

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