The Thanet Over Fifties Forum recently attended a meeting about changes to bus services in Thanet. They shared with us a report from the meeting.
The event was attended by over 100 people, many of whom were members of the Thanet over Fifties Forum (TOFFs) and who had strong feelings about plans to alter the provision of bus services in Thanet.
Some people were heard to say: “We only found out about the meeting today via Facebook. Why?”
Kent County Council confirmed that it will no longer fund bus services 42/42A, 56 and 39/39A, as of April 2019, saving them £300,000.
Attendees at te meeting felt that the changes will impact on a lot of older people living near the bus routes that are in the plans, particularly at a time when loneliness and social isolation are being considered one of the greatest public health challenges of our time by the Prime Minister, who recently launched the Government’s first ever loneliness strategy.
TOFFs members have been to all the meetings about the changes to buses, from the Big Conversation to the Bus Summit. People have listened to the proposals, they have submitted their concerns, they have signed petitions, but today assurances that Stagecoach would not remove certain services could not be guaranteed.
One TOFFS member said: "The number 56 is such a valuable route. It links people to so many needed facilities all the large supermarkets in Thanet, GP surgeries, Westwood Cross, libraries and more importantly QEQM Hospital.”
TOFFS raised its concerns with KCC especially in light of the new Bethesda Medical Hub
that Thanet will not benefit from the new KCC’s Bus Summit Pilot Scheme. You can read more information here
The Thanet Over Fifties Forum is working with other older peoples' forums across Kent to raise the issue of bus services in Kent.