At present Hollingbourne has a number 13 bus service which runs from Monday to Saturday and which reaches Maidstone in about 40 minutes via a route which takes in Leeds, Langley, Otham, and the Sutton Road. The service has been supported by Kent County Council for some time and a review has taken place which indicates Hollingbourne will be left with a feeder service as far as Morrisons on the Sutton Road although the precise details are yet to be made public. The changes are designed to reduce the costs of the service which has been under threat of closure.
However Mr Norman Kemp of NU Venture who provide the number 13 bus service from Monday to Friday writes:
There has probably never been a more important time for Hollingbourne to continue its active participation in the East Of Maidstone buses meetings* , as it is the enthusiasm of the group behind this which has led to your local area being suggested as one of the pilots.
He subsequently added about the service “Use it or lose it”.
- * regular meetings are held by the East of Maidstone Bus Group which is a pressure group for better bus services that is chaired by former Maidstone Mayor Mike Fitzgerald. Most local Parish Councils are represented on the group.
The following has been taken from the Kent Online website and is dated 30th October 2018.
Kent County Council to trial new rural bus services in Maidstone, Dover, Sevenoaks, Tenterden and West Malling
By Paul Francis
Five rural bus pilot schemes have been announced by Kent’s transport chiefs to test new ways of providing services for those who live in villages and isolated communities.
They will run in Dover, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, West Malling and Maidstone, it was revealed during a summit in County Hall this evening.
The county council has been consulting on changes to what are described as “socially necessary” buses.
Five new rural services are to be piloted
The review was partly been triggered by the need to save money.
However, the council has also investigated whether there are better ways to provide subsidised services.
The specific routes have not yet been finalised, but the initial plans show the routes will cover the following villages:
Dover feeder bus: Staple, Ash, Northbourne, Mongeham, Sholden.
Sevenoaks taxi bus: Fairseat, Stansted, West Kingsdown, East Hill, Otford.
Tenterden taxi bus: Shirkoak Park, Rare Breeds Centre, Tenterden, Leigh Green, Shrubcote, Rolvenden Layne, Rolvenden, Iden Green, Benenden, Castletons Oak.
Maidstone feeder bus: Hollingbourne, Leeds, Langley, Otham, Parkwood Morrisons, Grafty Green, Ulcombe, Kingswood, Chart Sutton, Boughton Monchelsea.
West Malling feeder bus: Addington, Trottiscliffe, Wrotham Heath, Ryarsh, Birling, Leybourne, West Malling, East Malling, Lunsford Park Tesco.
KCC cabinet member for transport, Mike Whiting, said: “The Big Conversation had a big turnout of residents and three out of four that took part said the availability of public transport restricts the places they go.
“Having the feedback meant we could go away and look at how we can help.
“With budgets the way they are, giving money to the bus companies to cover certain routes for a handful of people is increasingly difficult to justify
Pictured below is the route for the proposed Hollingbourne service which follows the existing 13 route to an interchange at Morrisons on the Sutton Road where it will be necessary to change buses in order to get into Maidstone. This means that the journey is likely to take more than the present c40 minutes. There is also a faster bus service from Hollingbourne Corner on the A20 into Maidstone and Ashford. Details of the new timetable is yet to be provided by Kent County Council.
A podcast of the KCC meeting on 30th October that agreed this service which lasts for 1 hour and 49 minutes is at https://kent.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/382871