Stagecoach East Kent changes and cuts - Ashford, Folkestone, Dover

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by alex397, 5 May 2018.

  1. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    Rather than clog up the 'Little&Often' thread with the other East Kent changes and cuts which are happening simultaneously to the Little & often changes, I thought it best to start a seperate thread focusing on the other changes.

    It is now in full public knowledge about Stagecoach South East's changes in the Ashford, Folkestone and Dover areas, as they have released service change information, and put information on Twitter.

    From their website, is the following:

    https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/south-east/ashford-bus-route-and-timetable-changes

    https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promo...st/folkestone-bus-route-and-timetable-changes

    https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/south-east/dover-bus-route-and-timetable-changes

    So, a huge amount of changes! While no doubt the locals, and the local newspapers, will just focus on the negatives, I can see some good things in the changes. Some of these areas have had no reviews for years, and as a regular user across East Kent, there are many underutlised journeys which I can understand need to be cut in the current climate. Many of the changes will improve reliability on some routes, and there has been some simplification in the networks which will be beneficial (e.g. sorting out the routings of the 16 and 73 in the Hawkinge estates, or splitting the A route in Ashford into two route numbers). But, some of the changes look very counterproductive and will only increase decline, such as reducing the 2 to 2-hourly, or diverting inter-urban routes to replace local routes.

    Something i'd like to point out is the new Folkestone map, seen in the link below. You can't really miss the route for the 10 - that is one sure way of putting off passengers. Currently, the 10 just travels on the main coastal road out of Folkestone, but now on most journeys (apart from a few peak 10A journeys), passengers travelling from Folkestone will have a grand tour of the estates of Golden Valley, Shorncliffe, Cheriton, and Horn Street. Diverting inter-urban routes to serve estates is very off-putting, but this takes it to a new level. It will also decrease reliability for the estates, as buses are more likely to get held up in traffic elsewhere, especially if the bus goes anywhere near Ashford! The 91 is almost as bad.
    Although I should point out a positive with the 10 - it will give the Horn Street and a part of Cheriton an hourly service, as opposed the current 160 it replaces which is much less frequent.

    https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.amazonaws.com/RouteMaps/South East/Kent/Folkestone Network Map 030618 MM.pdf
     
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  3. goldisgood

    goldisgood Member

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    You can change onto the 16 or 102 at Hythe though, which run every 10 minutes, although for some passengers this won't be ideal.
     
  4. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    These are major changes with potentially big impacts in certain areas. I hope publicity is available well in advance.

    For instance - Lydd: used to have 4 buses an hour to Romney, Folkestone, Dover (2 short way round 101, 2 long way round 102); will now be 1 an hour (long way). (Not that they have much choice unless they want a stiff walk to the RH & D Railway.)
    Also a gap of 2 hours 50 minutes on 1X in the afternoon, even Chartham has gaps of over an hour.

    Perhaps the biggest uncertainty is the impact on people getting 'through services' which are being cut.
    There are certainly passengers who stay on board at Ashford as a 1 becomes a 2 (and vice versa); The Wave certainly does not empty when it gets to Rye (the Camber effect?). Will potential passengers be put off because they have to change buses? More importantly, perhaps, is whether they would be put off by arriving at one place with a 55 minute wait for the connection because the incoming service is late and the outgoing service left on time - I know there are generous allowances but (seemingly) no guaranteed connection. There are also potentially higher fares (unless through fares are available)?
    This may well lead to buses running closer to time (although I have never found the 1* or Wave much of a problem, with that regard) but passengers have built their lives (choice of school, college, employment) around these services and will need time to get to grips with the new routes (as an example, a school service has been cut leaving two villages without cover; there is another school bus through these villages - it goes to Canterbury, the former service went to Ashford).

    I know Stagecoach have to make savings but my concern is that there will be a loss of passengers that may require further cuts down the line.

    * - one plus, less likely to be held up at Wye (twice sometimes) if coming from Canterbury. Sadly, the bus I usually catch will still suffer!
     
  5. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    This is a point that has been made to Perth by senior managers recently.
     
  6. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    Indeed, and no doubt many of the savvy passengers will do this. But, some passengers won't be aware of this, and many won't want to change bus, especially in bad weather or if they struggle with mobility. If you are travelling to/from college, work, appointments etc, the things you won't want to do is go on a grand tour of various estates OR have to change buses. I do see things from Stagecoach's POV though, and the 10 is probably the 'best' route to do this with, as opposed to the busier 16 or 102. Hopefully they make clear in their advertising that a change at Hythe is possible.
     
  7. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    Or if you don't have an unlimited travel ticket or ENCTS pass, or if you don't trust that the buses are running to time.

    Anyone doing so with an ENCTS pass will be, of course, be registered as taking two journeys. Good for Stagecoach's finances, I think.
     
  8. backontrack

    backontrack Established Member

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    Here are the drastic changes in full:

    Little and Often A will be split into two, with A - now a Little and Often service - serving South Ashford and Singleton every 10 minutes.
    D will run every 15 minutes, serving Designer Outlet and Stanhope.
    AD will run in the evenings, serving South Ashford, Singleton, Stanhope and Designer Outlet.
    Little and Often A, B, C and G: Sprinter minibuses will no longer be used on this route. They will be replaced by Optare Solo buses.
    Little and Often E will no longer run.
    Little and Often G will be extended through to Orbital Park and South Willesbrough, replacing E.

    1 will serve Little Burton, replacing Little and Often E. 1 buses via Little Burton will continue through to Wye.
    1A will continue to run from Canterbury to Chartham and Shalmsford Street.
    1/1X will provide a service every two hours between Canterbury and Ashford.

    2 (Ashford-High Halden-Tenterden-occasionally Rolvenden) will run every two hours rather than hourly.
    2A (Ashford-Shadoxhurst-Tenterden) will run every two hours rather than hourly.
    This combines to give an hourly frequency between Ashford and Tenterden.
    No more route 2 buses will run through to/from Canterbury on route 1/1X.

    10 will no longer continue to/start from Maidstone as the 10X: the latter will become a separate route, and a change will be required at Ashford for those travelling to places on the other side of Ashford.
    10 replaces the 77/78 and the 160 between Hythe and Folkestone, diverting away from Sandgate to serve Shorncliffe, Golden Valley and Cheriton Tesco (where it will terminate) at a frequency of every 30 minutes. Every hour, the 10 will continue through from Cheriton to Ashford via Horn Street, Seabrook, Hythe and Port Lympne. The 10 will now serve Port Lympne on Sundays.
    10A will only run at peak times, via Sandgate. This means that the 18 will be the only regular bus through Sandling and Saltwood, and the 102 will be the only regular service through Sandgate.

    11/11A/11B (Romney Marsh) will no longer run to William Harvey Hospital or Orbital Park.

    Gold 16 no longer serves Hawkinge (Tesco), Hawkinge (Primary School), or Saltwood (Brockhill Road). All 16 buses through Hawkinge will be routed via Aerodrome Road, Haven Drive, Heron Forstal Avenue and Uphill. 16 buses now continue to Palmarsh (Martello Lakes). One bus per hour continues from there to Palmarsh (Grebe Crescent), replacing the 160 west of Hythe.

    17 will run every 90 minutes on Sundays, rather than every two hours.

    71 (Creteway Down) will now serve Stanbury Crescent and Hollands Avenue, replacing the 72. It will run every 20 minutes.
    72 will no longer run.
    73 will run every 20 minutes (every 30 on Sundays), and will serve Hawkinge Tesco as well as Millfield and the Battle of Britain Museum. It will run in Cheriton via Church Road, Cheriton Tesco, Weymouth Road, Shaftesbury Avenue and Ashley Avenue, replacing the 72.
    77 and 78 will no longer run.

    80 (via Worth) will no longer serve St Margaret's Bay or Sholden Village on Dover-Sandwich services. An extra hourly 80 service will run from Deal to Sholden Village and back.
    81 (via Eastry) will now serve St Margaret's Bay.

    89/89A becomes three routes, the 89, and the 92/92A. The 89 will run between Canterbury and Aylesham via Bridge. The 92 will run in a circuit - Dover > Crabble > River > Temple Ewell > Lydden > Shepherdswell > Coldred > Elvington > Eythorne > Whitfield > Temple Ewell > River > Crabble > Dover. The 92A will run in the other direction.
    89B will no longer run south of Aylesham.

    90 will now serve Whitfield Tesco.

    91 will run between Broadmead Village and Folkestone via Coniston Road every 30 minutes - one of these services will run from Dover via Kearsney Abbey and Alkham Valley. The through service to Dover will be diverted to serve Wear Bay Crescent, Foreland Avenue, Warren Road, Canterbury Road, Downs Road, Dolphins Road and Holywell Avenue between Dover and Drellingore, replacing the 72.

    Wave 100 (via Winchelsea) will no longer run between Rye and Lydd.
    Wave 101 (via Fairlight) will no longer run between Rye, Lydd and Dover.
    Wave 102 will run 3ph between Dover and Greatstone-on-Sea. One of those buses will continue via Lydd-on-Sea, Lydd and Camber to Rye, meeting a connecting Wave 100 service.

    121 will no longer run, as a parallel 1 service will replace it. This service will not serve Shottenden or Molash.

    127 will no longer run.
    160 will no longer run.

    517 will no longer run in the morning. It will be replaced jointly by a service on route 2A via Park Farm and by the 518.
    519 will no longer serve Park Farm, starting at Stanhope. Little & Often B provides an alternative service from Park Farm to Towers School.

    666 (Faversham-Ashford) will be diverted via Eureka Park and Repton Park, replacing Little and Often E. This part of the route will run hourly on Sundays.

    There are also some changes to school routes around Dover and Folkestone.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only places that do well from those changes are Badlesmere, Broadmead, Challock, Greatstone, Horn Street, Leaveland, Littlestone, Palmarsh and Sheldwich.
     
  9. backontrack

    backontrack Established Member

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    Molash and Shottenden. They no longer have any services to/from Ashford, except for a school bus that serves schools in Canterbury and runs via Challock, Chilham and Chartham.
     
  10. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    I've heard that Arriva are increasing their frequency of the 12 from Maidstone to Tenterden from hourly to half-hourly (it already runs half-hourly Maidstone-Headcorn). This is probably as a direct result of Stagecoach reducing their hourly services (2 and 2A) to 2-hourly.
    The 12 connects Tenterden to the railway station at Headcorn.

    I wasn't expecting Arriva to be improving services while Stagecoach are reducing them. Stagecoach have long had a better reputation than Arriva in the Kent area. It appears to be changing (in Tenterden at least!)

    EDIT: The Traveline website shows the new half-hourly timetable.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2018
  11. Romilly

    Romilly Established Member

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    In that case, maybe they might also as part of that reinstate the once a week Market Day diversion via Frittenden. One can only hope!
     
  12. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    Yet another cut back in Folkestone.

    A short notice change has been registered for the 71. It will be pulled out of the Hollands Avenue section of the route (which was only just diverted here following the 72's withdrawal on 3rd June).

    The Hollands Avenue section is a 0.4 mile double run, with a turning circle for the bus to use (apparently only Solo sized vehicles can use this). Issues are frequently caused by cars parking in the clearly marked turning circle. And this is Stagecoach's excuse for pulling out, as seen here:

    https://www.stagecoachbus.com/servi...rticle?SituationId=ID-12/06/2018-15:09:53:979

    My opinion is that Stagecoach should be pushing the local council/local politicians to enforce parking restrictions (they might already have), rather than pulling out, and further decreasing potential passengers and worsening their already poor customer feedback following the 3rd June changes. But then again, why would local councilors care when most of their voters are car drivers?
     
  13. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    If you want something sorted, get the public to do the work, your be surprised how much faster this works..
     
  14. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Member

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    Surely the failure of the cuts in the Stagecoach North Scotland region would have taught them a lesson, routes that until recently ran every 15 minutes and were always busy are now far less frequent (half hourly and hourly) and the impact has just been passengers moving to their cars. Seems further cuts are near too! Sometimes you wonder if those at the top have a functioning brain! That said i better keep my views of Souter quiet...
     
  15. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    What do you mean by this?
     
  16. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    That partly down to cutlock.. sorry, Mark Whitelock, but thankful he doon south to cause trouble, just watch the cuts in Aberdeenshire will be rolled back a bit while in Cumbria cuts will start...


    That is simple, Sometimes if you want bus service sorted out or have parking car troubles, its alot easier if the angry public complain. Ive seen it before the public complain and the council does something faster because it can see its causing problems.
     
  17. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    I see what you mean, and certainly understand your point
     
  18. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    No problem with the method but maybe unlikely to be successful here.

    1. On the few occasions I have travelled on the 72 it has been empty/ almost empty when I got on so unlikely to be much public complaint. (That section was only hourly as the 72.)

    2. It suits Stagecoach. Diversion unlikely to be very productive and they may not be restricted as to vehicle type any more (they sometimes ran DDs on the 71).

    3. The replacement route (71) is a one-way loop at that end with the Holland Ave run diverted off of it. Passengers living on the loop won't complain about missing out the double run.

    4. Folkestone and Hythe Council is not the most responsive to protests. Far bigger ones than are likely here have been treated with distain.
     
  19. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Member

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    I to some extent agree, although they're still stuck with Daniel Laird who's errrr.... Not the brightest of sparks it seems. Also some routes have been cut to the extent where i don't think they're salvageable anymore. But yes now it's time for Cumbria to have busy services frequency cut by 50% and 75%.
     
  20. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    Good points Typhoon. Before the changes, double-decks would often appear on the 71, but no longer can - so this will make allocations easier. Solos now seem to be in high demand across East Kent since the changes!
    Taking out Hollands Avenue will make things better for other customers of the 71, who I suspect have probably complained about the new 'around the houses' route. I just think the more operators pull out of areas, it just increases decline. But I suspect they won't lost too much custom from this new change.
    I also agree about the distain from Folkestone & Hythe Council - nearby Canterbury CC is similar in that respect!


    So, today another visit to Ashford. Firstly, only timetables for the new D and G routes at the station, when there are meant to be timetables for all services. There were however copies in the Tourist Information on the top floor of Ashford's 'Gateway' centre - which I suspect not many people know about, or would go to the trouble of going to just for a timetable.

    I saw plenty of ancient 14-year old Solos running about with standing loads, none of which I saw had Little&Often branding. The out-of-town routes were mostly running 15-20 mins late with few passengers. I went on the revised route 1 which just goes to Wye via Little Burton - running 20 mins late with about 5 passengers. I have noticed on the timetable that Little Burton has really lost out in the changes - although there is an 'hourly' service on route 1, there is a massive gap. There is the 13.10 from Ashford, and then the 18.00 which is the last bus! Bad luck if your a London commuter! To be fair to Stagecoach, Little Burton looks very difficult to give a good service too - ideally it should have a half-hourly service direct to the town centre and station throughout the day, but I doubt that would be in any way commercially viable. I guess there could be half-hourly ' extras' added to the B which after Bockhanger, goes to Little Burton instead of Kennington - just a thought!

    The traffic in Ashford is truly awful, so I don't think any operator could give a decent reliable service to be honest.
    This is what happens in a country where transport policies generally favour the car and give little investment in bus services.
     
  21. Lynford1976

    Lynford1976 Member

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    The traffic in and Ashford today was worse than usual because of the closure of Bad Münstereifel Road for footbridge removal, associated with the M20 works at junction 10a.

    D.
     
  22. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    During the week, I was able to get the A, B, C, D, G and 666 timetables at Canterbury Bus Station, but not the 1, which starts from Canterbury (or indeed the 15, 16, 17, 43 or 89 - all of which changed on 3rd June). Nor were they at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, aka 'the library'). Tourist information in Ashford - it is difficult to imagine a place in the town centre that is more difficult to find or access particularly if you have mobility issues (so those who may wish to use buses).

    I have caught the old 'E' a few times in Kennington going towards Eureka Park, I can't remember there ever being anybody on board when I got on so I suspect Little Burton may be a lost cause. At least passengers to/ from Ashford no longer need to go the long way round. I am not surprised about the paucity of passengers on the 1 - I can't work out why they effectively split the 1 and 1X up (except at peak times). Neither the number of through passengers from Canterbury/ Chartham/ Chilham or the number of passengers from Wye seem to justify a through service - the only advantage for passengers from Canterbury is not being held up at the rail gates (often twice in my experience). Your point about the afternoon service to Little Burton is well made - Chilham similarly has a ropey (but not quite as bad) service (as does Godmersham, where I have seen people get on/off).

    I suppose the bad traffic in Ashford was one reason for the Little&Often initiative - frequent buses so no need to check the timetable. There is a bus - it may be on time, six minutes late, twelve minutes late, whatever, but who cares, its a bus*. Once the frequency is widened, the timetable comes into play and passengers know when it is late.
    * - if you make the frequency 'every 7 minutes', 'every 8 minutes', or 'every 7 - 8 minutes' no-one can (or can be bothered to) work out when the bus is due in any case so will just turn up, hang around for about 10 minutes before they start complaining.

    Canterbury City Council - too right (and getting worse).
     
  23. E-Rail

    E-Rail Member

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    It's the former Arriva Commercial mob that are now at Canterbury doing their best to bankrupt what was once a business growing at warp speed only 3-4 years ago. Tragic to see East Kent in terminal decline now.
     

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