Free Summer Bus Pass?

Status
Not open for further replies.

SeveerYeliab

Member
Joined
21 Dec 2018
Messages
77
Kent County Council (KCC) have launched a new scheme called Kent Reconnect. Essentially, the council will be discounting certain activities over the summer (such as a £25 unlimited leisure centre membership). However, as part of the scheme, every child in school years 6 - 13 will be receiving (I got mine today) a pass allowing them free bus travel on any bus service in Kent for the summer (22nd July - 31st August).
I was just wondering if there were any other areas out there that have been offering free bus travel for children or if it is just Kent? Also, curiously, the webpage on the scheme from KCC details that this has been made possible "thanks to the generous support of Kent’s bus operators", So does this mean that the council aren't paying for this?

Arriva and Stagecoach especially have been rather generous over the last few years - they have allowed the KCC Travel Saver to be used at weekends and holidays (which is outside of the parameters that the council specify).

(This scheme is not available in Medway, as KCC do not cover the Medway towns).

Details about the scheme from KCC's website are below:


Getting your bus pass​

If you go to school​

Your school will be handing Reconnect bus passes out to all students in years 6 to 13 by the end of the summer term.

If you're not in school to get your bus pass, your school will let you know how to get one. They may:

  • post it to you
  • invite you to collect it
  • ask you to visit a collection point from 21 July.

If you're at college​

Your college will contact you about collecting a pass.

If you're homeschooled​

You can collect a pass from a collection point from 21 July.

Using your bus pass​

Once you get your bus pass, you’ll be able to use it as many times as you like between 22 and 31 August 2021.

The pass is valid in Kent on the following buses:

  • Autocar
  • Arriva
  • Chalkwell
  • Farleigh Coaches
  • Go Coach
  • Hams Travel
  • Kent Coach Tours
  • Metrobus
  • Nu-Venture
  • R&J Coaches
  • Redroute
  • Regent Coaches
  • Stagecoach
  • Starline Coaches.
You cannot use it for services that start in or operate in Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey or the Transport for London area.

You must show your bus pass to the driver when getting on the bus and you must keep the pass with you at all times.

This offer has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Kent’s bus operators.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

vla50

Member
Joined
21 Mar 2021
Messages
303
Location
South East
Kent County Council (KCC) have launched a new scheme called Kent Reconnect. Essentially, the council will be discounting certain activities over the summer (such as a £25 unlimited leisure centre membership). However, as part of the scheme, every child in school years 6 - 13 will be receiving (I got mine today) a pass allowing them free bus travel on any bus service in Kent for the summer (22nd July - 31st August).
I was just wondering if there were any other areas out there that have been offering free bus travel for children or if it is just Kent? Also, curiously, the webpage on the scheme from KCC details that this has been made possible "thanks to the generous support of Kent’s bus operators", So does this mean that the council aren't paying for this?

Arriva and Stagecoach especially have been rather generous over the last few years - they have allowed the KCC Travel Saver to be used at weekends and holidays (which is outside of the parameters that the council specify).

(This scheme is not available in Medway, as KCC do not cover the Medway towns).

Details about the scheme from KCC's website are below:



London has this scheme but year round
 

Argyle 1980

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2020
Messages
134
Location
Cornwall
Don't know if this was just a typo on KCCs part but Dover Girls Grammar sent my daughter a pass with a covering letter stating that free travel isn't allowed on services that start or terminate in Sussex or Medway. If that's the case, then that means half the buses between Dover and Folkestone will be off limits to her.
Does anyone know if this is actually the case or if it was only intended to mean cross boundary travel is not permitted.
If it is as KCC say, then I can envisage a lot of problems at Folkestone bus station when a wave bus bound for Dover arrives and the drivers say "sorry you can't travel from Folkestone to Dover because I started in Rye"
 

Typhoon

Established Member
Joined
2 Nov 2017
Messages
2,056
Location
Kent
Don't know if this was just a typo on KCCs part but Dover Girls Grammar sent my daughter a pass with a covering letter stating that free travel isn't allowed on services that start or terminate in Sussex or Medway. If that's the case, then that means half the buses between Dover and Folkestone will be off limits to her.
Does anyone know if this is actually the case or if it was only intended to mean cross boundary travel is not permitted.
If it is as KCC say, then I can envisage a lot of problems at Folkestone bus station when a wave bus bound for Dover arrives and the drivers say "sorry you can't travel from Folkestone to Dover because I started in Rye"
I checked the wording, which is
You cannot use it for services that start in or operate in Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey or the Transport for London area.
.

However there is a website for Reconnect where it states
Passes can only be used on journeys that start and finish in Kent.
(my emphasis). I suspect that is what is meant - the student cannot undertake a journey where they would end up in East Sussex because that is outside of Kent. Reconnect is at Reconnect-Parent-Leaflet.pdf (kelsi.org.uk). However, I haven't been able to find an easy contact - it would definitely be worth clarifying, probably with Kent County Council. I would be surprised if it meant 'service' as it would be impossible to work out which 102s started in Rye and which in New Romney, also there are routes where all journeys start/ end outside Kent so whole groups of students would be excluded*; 'Reconnect' is almost certainly funded out of the money the government have given KCC to get students up to speed (plus possible money the council has put in) and they (and the bus companies) would want to make sure that students are not investigating the delights of Crawley or Woolwich. By providing free bus travel, it would demolish one of the barriers that might prevent students attending the events provided in the programme.

I would recommend looking at the leaflet because there is a whole lot more involved.

* - tfL routes, even in Kent, are probably excluded so rather tough if you live in West Dartford; Westerham is a bit shaky too. The scheme has probably been put together speedily so there may be gliches!

So does this mean that the council aren't paying for this?
Maybe - or maybe just a percentage? (Arriva in financial do-dos, see Arriva thread.)
 
Last edited:

Argyle 1980

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2020
Messages
134
Location
Cornwall
I checked the wording, which is

.

However there is a website for Reconnect where it states

(my emphasis). I suspect that is what is meant - the student cannot undertake a journey where they would end up in East Sussex because that is outside of Kent. Reconnect is at Reconnect-Parent-Leaflet.pdf (kelsi.org.uk). However, I haven't been able to find an easy contact - it would definitely be worth clarifying, probably with Kent County Council. I would be surprised if it meant 'service' as it would be impossible to work out which 102s started in Rye and which in New Romney, also there are routes where all journeys start/ end outside Kent so whole groups of students would be excluded*; 'Reconnect' is almost certainly funded out of the money the government have given KCC to get students up to speed (plus possible money the council has put in) and they (and the bus companies) would want to make sure that students are not investigating the delights of Crawley or Woolwich. By providing free bus travel, it would demolish one of the barriers that might prevent students attending the events provided in the programme.

I would recommend looking at the leaflet because there is a whole lot more involved.

* - tfL routes, even in Kent, are probably excluded so rather tough if you live in West Dartford; Westerham is a bit shaky too. The scheme has probably been put together speedily so there may be gliches!


Maybe - or maybe just a percentage? (Arriva in financial do-dos, see Arriva thread.)
My daughter asked the school liason about the Folkestone issues with this and apparently the schools have been inundated with this enquiry as it will unfairly penalise those in the Dover/Folkestone area.
The school are unsure too and are awaiting clarification from KCC over it. I don't envisage such problems with the small amount of TFL services in Kent as freedom passes were never valid on them anyway and also that most kids in that area also would have held a zip card anyway.
Can imagine it's quite a headache in North Kent too as most Arriva services radiate our from Chatham.

Back to the Dover-Rye issue, I'm pretty sure that ever since the wave services were split at Rye, then all the 102s are now operated by Cheriton drivers anyway so they'll probably be more understanding than say the Silverhill drivers were if they still operated the 102s.

Wasn't there a similar problem with the precursor to the ENCTS bus passes when they were restricted to use in the local authority they were issued in? I know it was permitted to travel outside the county boundary as long as you stayed on the same service but seem to remember the split at Lydd camp where a situation occurred where Sussex residents could travel into Kent beyond Lydd but were unable to board the service home as the bus was technically only operating within Kent.
 
Last edited:

Typhoon

Established Member
Joined
2 Nov 2017
Messages
2,056
Location
Kent
My daughter asked the school liason about the Folkestone issues with this and apparently the schools have been inundated with this enquiry as it will unfairly penalise those in the Dover/Folkestone area.
The school are unsure too and are awaiting clarification from KCC over it. I don't envisage such problems with the small amount of TFL services in Kent as freedom passes were never valid on them anyway and also that most kids in that area also would have held a zip card anyway.
Can imagine it's quite a headache in North Kent too as most Arriva services radiate our from Chatham.

Back to the Dover-Rye issue, I'm pretty sure that ever since the wave services were split at Rye, then all the 102s are now operated by Cheriton drivers anyway so they'll probably be more understanding than say the Silverhill drivers were if they still operated the 102s.

Wasn't there a similar problem with the precursor to the ENCTS bus passes when they were restricted to use in the local authority they were issued in? I know it was permitted to travel outside the county boundary as long as you stayed on the same service but seem to remember the split at Lydd camp where a situation occurred where Sussex residents could travel into Kent beyond Lydd but were unable to board the service home as the bus was technically only operating within Kent.
102s - either Cheriton or the Old Romney outstation (which I think still operates).

North Kent - probably won't affect that many. The Arriva routes that I would think would be subject to debate are the 155 Chatham - Maidstone, 190 Chatham - Gravesend, 477 Bluewater - Orpington (and some very short journeys on the 101). There are also some independents - Chalkwell 326, 327 Sittingbourne - Chatham, Nu Venture routes 130 Medway - Maidstone (the long way round but serves a couple of villages) and 151 Chatham - Kings Hill, Farleigh Coaches B150 Medway suburbs to Maidstone. (could be a few missing!)

The last is important because Farleigh are on the list of companies providing the services but their website shows just one non-school service, the B150 so I would guess that it can be used on that. There is also the following helpful quote
Passes accepted: KCC Saver Pass & 16+ pass for journeys within Kent or starting/finishing in Kent
If this is meant for the Reconnect, then I would suggest that description is rather clearer than the one your daughter was given. Still, it is better that the school sorts it out - they will know exactly who can be relied upon to come up with an answer.

Finally, please can I suggest that your daughter takes advantage of the offers? Young people have suffered immensely during this pandemic, there looks to be a lot on offer for minimal or no outlay, they won't get this offer again!
 

Argyle 1980

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2020
Messages
134
Location
Cornwall
102s - either Cheriton or the Old Romney outstation (which I think still operates).

North Kent - probably won't affect that many. The Arriva routes that I would think would be subject to debate are the 155 Chatham - Maidstone, 190 Chatham - Gravesend, 477 Bluewater - Orpington (and some very short journeys on the 101). There are also some independents - Chalkwell 326, 327 Sittingbourne - Chatham, Nu Venture routes 130 Medway - Maidstone (the long way round but serves a couple of villages) and 151 Chatham - Kings Hill, Farleigh Coaches B150 Medway suburbs to Maidstone. (could be a few missing!)

The last is important because Farleigh are on the list of companies providing the services but their website shows just one non-school service, the B150 so I would guess that it can be used on that. There is also the following helpful quote

If this is meant for the Reconnect, then I would suggest that description is rather clearer than the one your daughter was given. Still, it is better that the school sorts it out - they will know exactly who can be relied upon to come up with an answer.

Finally, please can I suggest that your daughter takes advantage of the offers? Young people have suffered immensely during this pandemic, there looks to be a lot on offer for minimal or no outlay, they won't get this offer again!
You read my mind. I was thinking to myself if Romney depot was still functioning since the 101/102 was split. Know it was more heavily used by school services and the Ashford Marsh buses as well as some 102s at the extremes of the day. I'm old enough (just about) to remember the old New Romney depot opposite the light railway station which shut in the late 90s I think.

Yes she'll definitely be taking advantage of it. She never had a freedom pass because living in Aylesham it wasn't really worth it, especially after Stagecoach pulled the Dover services.
 

SeveerYeliab

Member
Joined
21 Dec 2018
Messages
77
You read my mind. I was thinking to myself if Romney depot was still functioning since the 101/102 was split. Know it was more heavily used by school services and the Ashford Marsh buses as well as some 102s at the extremes of the day. I'm old enough (just about) to remember the old New Romney depot opposite the light railway station which shut in the late 90s I think.

Yes she'll definitely be taking advantage of it. She never had a freedom pass because living in Aylesham it wasn't really worth it, especially after Stagecoach pulled the Dover services.
Yup, stagecoach still operate out of Old Romney, they stable a few overnight 102s there that then go on to full day service, as well as a few buses for the 11 and one each for the schools 293 and 553.

I shouldn't think there would be any issues on using the pass on the 102 route. I've used my KCC travel saver on it many times and have had no troubles and I would think that both passes should have the same restriction. Also, operationally the 102 is split at Lydd, so even though the bus will physically start and end at Rye, the ticket machine will believe that the bus starts/ends at Lydd, as the 2 sections are registered as different routes.

I can see how you may be rather trapped buswise living in Aylesham (especially in the Dover direction). There was some talk a few months ago of Aylesham service changes (possibly the through buses coming back) but this seems to have all but gone away now (COVID I guess)
 

Typhoon

Established Member
Joined
2 Nov 2017
Messages
2,056
Location
Kent
Also, operationally the 102 is split at Lydd, so even though the bus will physically start and end at Rye, the ticket machine will believe that the bus starts/ends at Lydd, as the 2 sections are registered as different routes.

I can see how you may be rather trapped buswise living in Aylesham (especially in the Dover direction). There was some talk a few months ago of Aylesham service changes (possibly the through buses coming back) but this seems to have all but gone away now (COVID I guess)
Thanks for the information about the 102, I know they used to split at Lydd Camp when the route ran through to Hastings but I didn't know it still did.

I'm surprised about reinstating the through service 89. I occasionally used it to go beyond Aylesham but it wasn't exactly crowded. I did wonder how those living between Aylesham and Elvington were going to cope though. (Not many, but they were young, looked like they might be going to work).
 

Argyle 1980

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2020
Messages
134
Location
Cornwall
Yup, stagecoach still operate out of Old Romney, they stable a few overnight 102s there that then go on to full day service, as well as a few buses for the 11 and one each for the schools 293 and 553.

I shouldn't think there would be any issues on using the pass on the 102 route. I've used my KCC travel saver on it many times and have had no troubles and I would think that both passes should have the same restriction. Also, operationally the 102 is split at Lydd, so even though the bus will physically start and end at Rye, the ticket machine will believe that the bus starts/ends at Lydd, as the 2 sections are registered as different routes.

I can see how you may be rather trapped buswise living in Aylesham (especially in the Dover direction). There was some talk a few months ago of Aylesham service changes (possibly the through buses coming back) but this seems to have all but gone away now (COVID I guess)
There is a school service from Aylesham to Dover schools but this is largely only utilized by students with the statutory free passes. As my daughter goes to Dover Girls Grammar she wouldn't qualify for one. I'd be quite surprised if the 89 was ever reinstated all the way through to Dover again because it did largely carry fresh air between Elvington and Aylesham. Personally I thought that the old 87 Dover-Ramsgate was a far more useful service, which I remember started around the same time that the 89 started running through to Dover.
I think Aylesham residents would rather have a seven day service to Canterbury opposed to the 89 reverting back to Dover again. But that's obviously down to Kent County Council (KCC) not subsidising it opposed to Stagecoach not willing.

What would be useful though was if a stop was possible somewhere close the the roundabout at the top of the exit slip off the coastbound A2 where people travelling from Folkestone could safely join the current 89 towards Aylesham. In the opposite direction it's not an issue as you can get off the 89 on the entry slip onto the A2 and cross over and walk the short distance back towards the Barham service for the 16. But heading from Folkestone back towards Aylesham involves a bloody dangerous crossing of the A2 and definitely not something you'd want your kids doing.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

PaulJ

Member
Joined
20 Jun 2011
Messages
72
There does seem to be an issue with many kids thinking the KCC Reconnect is valid on trains too, because teachers have told them they may use it on public transport. On the other hand, the kids could just be ‘trying it on’ as a group of 8 were doing with me this afternoon…
 

Argyle 1980

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2020
Messages
134
Location
Cornwall
Further to add to this, the anomaly of Traveling between Dover/Folkestone and Romney Marsh isn't an issue as my daughter has travelled to Folkestone and back a number of times now.
 

Typhoon

Established Member
Joined
2 Nov 2017
Messages
2,056
Location
Kent
This does seem to have been successful in that on Friday (27/08) I replicated journeys I often take and footfall was definitely up on what it has been during summer holidays in previous years. Standing room only on the last bus I took, mid afternoon and a significant number of passengers would definitely still be at school.

Whether these Journeys were productive I cannot guarantee but should a competitor from Kent bring home the gold medal for skateboarding at Los Angeles or Brisbane, there is every chance they were; there would be quite a few candidates.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top