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Cancelled route is restored after chaos on buses

Philip Norwell, the new Stagecoach bus boss for Kent
Philip Norwell, the new Stagecoach bus boss for Kent

Stagecoach has been forced into a U-turn after scrapping a popular city bus service. The company’s boss faced angry questioning this week over the loss of the number 22 bus, winch ran between the London Road Estate in Canterbury and the St Dunstan’s area. The changes – introduced in September – led to complaints of hugely increased journey times, with one local trader describing the service as “abysmal”. And the backlash forced the firm into a rethink, with Stagecoach South East managing director Philip Norwell announcing the decision to reinstate the bus at a meeting of Canterbury councillors on Monday.

Among those who had complained about the scrapping of the 22 was Jayne Cohen, of Squire Avenue, Canterbury, who told members how her shopping trips had been turned into journeys of up to 80 minutes across the city. Mr Norwell claimed changes to some bus routes had brought benefits to many users, but admitted there had been reliability problems and loss of service for others. But while those on the London Road Estate will be celebrating, there was no mention of reinstating the 21A bus, which served Broad Oak Road. Residents have complained that they too now face much longer journeys since the changes were introduced on September 21. After the meeting, Roy Weatherly, 78, of Willow Close, said:

“It’s good news for the London Road Estate but not so much for us. All we’ve been told Is that they will continue to monitor it.”

Mr Norwell was also quizzed about why Stagecoach buses could no longer go through the Westgate Towers. He said the latest buses were far too wide because they had to accommodate wheelchair access, adding

“If we could run them through the towers we would because it would work out cheaper for us.”

He also said the bus stop outside the Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstan’s, where pavement widening is under way, would not be re-instated.

Herne Bay Gazette, November 20th 2014

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