Greg has confirmed that essential school bus services in Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green are going to be maintained.
"Arriva had plans to cut two crucial bus services – one linking Oakwood School in Maidstone to Paddock Wood and one linking Mascalls School to Maidstone. Understandably a lot of families were very concerned about this and I met with the bosses of Arriva to see whether there was any possibility of them reversing these proposed changes.
"Arriva did go some way to addressing these concerns but Kent County Council felt that the alternatives offered fell somewhat short of the existing service so they have instructed a new operator – Nu Venture – to continue the 15:33 service from Oakwood School on its original route, including Five Oak Green, and to maintain the 15:08 service from Mascalls School to Maidstone.
"This is great news and I am very grateful to KCC for their quick and responsive action.
"Unfortunately, the loss of service through Five Oak Green and the direct link from Paddock Wood to Maidstone (outside of school times) are more problematic. The 6/6A service is operated on a purely commercial basis and Arriva say that these particular routes did not attract enough passengers and are not financially viable. Arriva have decided to focus on enhancing the Paddock Wood to Tunbridge Wells link, including introducing a new Sunday service.
"I am working with Kent County Council and local borough councillors to see whether any other options exist to maintain some sort of service for Five Oak Green such as installing a new bus stop at the Dampiers Roundabout which at least some residents could walk to."
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