Shepway’s bus crisis: What can be done?

July 14, 2018

There is a huge amount of anger about cuts to local bus services. These are unlikely to be reversed but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to restore vital local transport links.  Martin Whybrow, local Green Party County Councillor, issues a rallying cry to anyone who’d like to help.

If you wanted to know how high passions are running over local bus services then you only needed to attend last Thursday’s KCC-hosted “Big Conversation” event. It was standing room only as 200+ crammed into the village hall at St Mary’s Bay. And from the start, local residents used the opportunity to voice their anger about Stagecoach’s recent cuts and changes.

We heard from parents with kids who couldn’t get to and from school (particularly the Marsh Academy). A local business owner in New Romney explained how damaging it is for her and other retailers that no buses now run down the High Street. We had people who now took (literally) hours to get to and from work. And many elderly people told how they were isolated by the cuts, particularly struggling to make GP and hospital appointments (the termination of the number 11 service in the centre of Ashford was mentioned a lot for anyone trying to access the William Harvey Hospital).

Time and again, residents complained about the lack of consultation and failure of Stagecoach to respond to letters and emails.

How did we get here?

For reasons of mental and physical health and wellbeing, as well as reducing congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions, everything should be done to encourage use of public transport. No surprise that this is Green Party policy. However, in this country we seem to be heading in the wrong direction.

How did it come to this? Read More »

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