Kent County Council could cut funding to bus services
Dozens of bus routes including a number of Kent school services could be axed by Kent County Council in a bid to save £4m.
More than 70 routes - known as Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS) - would be affected by the proposed cuts.
Socially Necessary Bus Services are subsidised by the council because they are not considered comercially viable routes by bus operators.
They represent around 3% of bus journeys across Kent or 3.8million journeys and many run through rural areas.
A report says 74 services would be affected by the proposed cuts. These contracts currently provide 1.6m journeys a year.
The proposed contracts to be withdrawn comprise:
28 full services (incl peak/schools)
22 full services (off peak, no schools)
14 School-days-only services (for schools travel)
The cost-cutting measures would save KCC £2 million next year and £2m the year after.
Although council chiefs say the changes may also lead to a number of bus operators closing down, particularly in West Kent.
Just 34 Socially Necessary Bus Services would remain under the cuts proposed but transport chiefs say there is a possibility that some could be run by commercial operators who may step in.
“From experience in the UK, where local authorities have been forced to reduce support to SNBS, counties such as Lancashire and Oxfordshire, have seen operators come forward with proposals to offset some of the lost links.”
There is no statutory requirement on councils to provide such bus services but most do - although they have become the target for cuts by cash-strapped authorities.
Campaign groups say such services are a lifeline for many - often most used by the young and elderly - and point to research that shows 64% of jobseekers also either have no access to a vehicle or cannot drive.
A decision on which services could end will be made in December, with consultation beginning in January before a decision is made in May and contracts with current operators ending in September should proposals go ahead.
Bus services at risk under the county council’s budget cuts
332 Sittingbourne-Yelstead Stockbury-Sittingbourne
634 Greenhill - Reculver / Bishopstone
292, 299 Hawkhurst - Tenterden
541/542/544 Deal - Dover - Sandwich & Canterbury
232, 234, 238, 632 Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Hever & Penshurst
255 Benenden - Tunbridge Wells
10x Maidstone - Ashford - William Harvey Hospital
5 (Evenings) Maidstone - Hawkhurst/Sandhurst
423, 489 (Evenings) New Ash Green - Dartford / Gravesend
401 Westerham - Tonbridge
59 Maidstone, Grafty Green, Hollingbourne/Leeds, Stile Bridge, Hunton, Marden
59 Maidstone - Grafty Green
293 Tunbridge Wells - Tenterden - Rye
662, 664, 666 Norton-Lynsted-Faversham-Sheldwich
203 Paddock Wood - Benover
266 Kilndown - Maidstone
367 Sheerness - Warden Point
234 Edenbridge Ridgeway - Cross Key Schools
82, 82A Deal - Kingsdown
24 Sandhurst - Maidstone
222 Wrotham -Tonbridge
11 Lydd - Ashford - William Harvey Hospital
292 Jury's Gap - Tenterden
70 Borough Green - Lunsford Park
404, 405 Edenbridge - Shipbourne, Plaxtol,Sevenoaks & West Kingsdown
296 Tunbridge Wells - Paddock Wood
88 Maidstone - Kings Hill
235 Penshurst - Hildenborough Station
58 Addington - Trottiscliffe - Ryarsh - West Malling - Maidstone
151 Chatham Maritime-Kings Hill/Lunsford Park
60, 61, 61A Aycliffe - Whitfield - Dover - Whitfield
666 Ashford - Faversham
4 / 645 Reculver - Greenhill
38, 38A Palm Bay - Ramsgate - Manston - Birchington
13 Maidstone - Langley -Leeds - Hollingbourne - Bearsted
433 New Ash Green - Dartford/Gravesend
638 Faversham - Whitstable
326, 327 Sittingbourne - Medway Hospital
286 Hartfield - Speldhurst - Tunbridge Wells
237 Chiddingstone - Tunbridge Wells War Memorial
123 Ashford - Biddenden
12 Maidstone - Tenterden
18A Ashford - Canterbury
474, 475 Bluewater - Hartley
5 Canterbury - Seasalter
667 Canterbury - Charing
111 Ashford - Dover
8, 9, 9A, 343, 344, 345 The Meads-Rodmersham /Bredgar - Newnham
293/294 Tenterden - Rolvenden Layne, Tenterden- Appledore
267/268 Hawkhurst - Tunbridge Wells/Tonbridge
200 Hildenborough - Hildenborough Station
61, 63 Whitfield - Aydliffe
360 Rushenden - Leysdown
60, 61, 61A Aycliffe- Whitfield- Dover - Whitfield
150 Maidstone - Walderslade
553 Brookland - Rye
649 Wincheap - Canterbury Laws Courts
297 Tenterden - Tunbridge Wells
202, 211 Tonbridge - Barden Park/Hildenborough & Station
311 Lower Higham - Meopham School
216, 219, 277 T.Wells/T'bridge/Willow Lea- Pembury
306, 308 Northfleet, Borough Green, Bluewater & Wrotham
149, 151 Chatham Maritime-Kings Hill/Lunsford Park
280, 283 Tunbridge Wells Circular
36 Herne Bay - Margate/ QEQM Hospital
620 Canterbury - Hastingleigh
42, 42A Monkton - Ramsgate
204, 210 Tonbridge - Underriver/Leigh/Charcott
18 Canterbury - Hythe
207 Horsmonden - Bennett Memorial School
125 Ashford - Aldington
660 Stalisfield Green - Tankerton
B Line Ashford - Park Farm