Following concerns from the parents of schoolchildren who need the cross the busy A20 at Hollingbourne Corner to catch the bus into Maidstone each morning, local KCC Councillor Jenny Whittle has succeeded in arranging for early morning buses to collect Maidstone bound passengers on the Ashford bound side of the A20 from December onwards. Please Read More for a letter from KCC Public Transport to Councillor Whittle which as been passed on to Hollingbourne Parish Council.
You highlighted some time ago, the concerns held by Hollingbourne PC and local parents, about the arrangements for children travelling to Maidstone Schools using bus service 10X. Specifically the concerns focussed on the need for children on the Maidstone journeys (i.e. in the mornings) to cross the A20 to access the bus stop on the Maidstone bound side of the carriageway. My understanding is that initial attempts to ease the situation through Highway measures have proved cost prohibitive and to to degree impractical to introduce.
You had asked for consideration as to the potential of the bus service 10X to double run around respective roundabouts on the A20 in order that it can serve the stop on the Hollingbourne side of the carriageway on Maidstone bound journeys. The service is largely provided on a commercial basis and it has therefore been for Stagecoach to consider from both from a commercial and in this instance, health and safety perspective. You will recall from my last email that Stagecoach had committed to completing and assessment of the practicality and safety of the manoeuvre required.
Stagecoach have been keen to assist and have therefore completed and assessment which has determined that, whilst perhaps not perfect, the arrangement is something that can be accommodated. I am pleased to inform you therefore that from 4th December, 07:07 journey from Ashford Station to Maidstone (Earl Street) and the 07:20 Schoolday extra journey from Potters Corner – Tonbridge Road schools on schooldays will operate to serve the Hollingbourne stop. Stagecoach have indicated that they have some concerns about the robustness of the arrangement which demands that drivers need to do something different on one or two journeys – put another way, the worry would be that there maybe occasions when drivers forget and serve what is in effect the “wrong” stop. Clearly, every effort will be made to ensure that this does not happen but in light of this the new arrangement will have to be kept under review.
Arrangements to publicise the change to passengers will be put in place but any assistance that the Parish Council can provide in communicating this to parents and students will be appreciated. I trust this is welcome news. Please let me know if you require any further detail.
Mathew – thank you for your support on this matter.
Steve Pay | Planning and Operations Manager | Public Transport | Aylesford Highways Depot | Kent County Council | St Michaels Close, Aylesford, ME20 7TZ | Tel: 03000 413754 | www.kent.gov.uk
Pictured below is the Ashford bound bus stop at Hollingbourne Corner on the A20 which will be used to collect Maidstone bound passengers on the nominated services from December onwards. The crossing of the A20 at this point is dangerous because of vehicles exiting the M20 at Junctioon 8 although there is a central reservation with a small space at the end of the hedge. In the mornings the traffic on the other side of the hedge can be heavy because of the numbers of vehicles going to the M20. This section of the A20 is particularly dangerous for pedestrians on dark winter mornings. No reason has been given as to why the change cannot start until December.