To consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste to agree to the implementation of changes to selected bus services in Thanet and Sevenoaks effective from April 2019.
Mr Phil Lightowler (Head of Public Transport) was in attendance for this item.
1. Mr P Lightowler introduced the report which set out the proposed changes, the consultation outcomes and the recommendations for changes to the Thanet and Sevenoaks bus services that were provisionally planned for implementation from 1 April 2019.
2. Mr Balfour welcomed comments and questions from the Committee regarding the proposed changes to the Sevenoaks bus service:
(a) Mr Lake (Member for Sevenoaks Rural South) was invited to speak. Mr Lake requested that the proposed changes to remove the earlier and later 404 bus services from Sevenoaks to Edenbridge be reviewed due to the negative impact that this would have on school children and commuters.
b) Mr Rayner (Member for Malling West) sought agreement to use his Combined Members Grant with additional contributions from neighbouring parishes to fund a replacement bus service for Sevenoaks.
3. Mr Lightowler responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following: -
(a) In response to Mr Lake’s concerns regarding the proposed withdrawal of the 6:00pm service, Mr Lightowler confirmed that the Go Coach operator and Kent County Council had deployed inspectors to travel on the Sevenoaks route to determine the number of regular users who were reliant on the 6:00pm service. The outcome of the inspections did not support the need for a 6:00pm commuter journey. With regards to the bus operator’s ability to manage increased demand as a result of school expansions, Mr Lightowler informed the Committee that major expansions were planned of the Sevenoaks schools and there were plans to review the future bus network. He said that Kent County Council as the Public Transport Body would be meeting with bus operators, Trinity School and the Weald of Kent in the near future. Mr Lightowler acknowledged that this information was not within the consultation proposal document, however, he wanted to assure Members of the Committee that a separate piece of work which focused on the school network had commenced. Mr Lightowler agreed to liaise with Mr Lake outside of the Committee meeting.
(b) In response to Mr Rayner’s suggestion, Mr Lightowler agreed to liaise with Mr Rayner and the Parish Council’s to determine whether a replacement bus service could be achieved using Combined Member Grants.
4. Mr Balfour welcomed comments and questions from the Committee regarding the proposed changes to the Thanet bus service:
(a) Mrs Binks (Member for Broadstairs) raised the following points:
· The information within the report was incorrect as the number 56 bus service did not travel into Ramsgate,
· whilst pleased that consultation resulted in the replacement service of the number 37 bus, Mrs Binks asked why the report failed to mention the two petitions and earlier public consultation meetings in relation to the 56 bus and why the offer made by residents to pay for the retention of the 56 service had not been followed up by officers; and
· the proposed new route and timetable offered by the 37 bus service meant that ... view the full minutes text for item 149