Road­works are ‘a night­mare’ for bus driv­ers and pas­sen­gers

It’s get­ting worse, not bet­ter, says com­pany boss as pupils are de­layed by gridlock

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Bus com­pa­nies say town cen­tre road­works are caus­ing “night­mare” de­lays for pas­sen­gers and school chil­dren.

Scot­land and Bates has re­ported that buses tak­ing pupils from Ash­ford to Home­wood in Ten­ter­den are left stuck try­ing to turn left at the Sin­gle­ton round­about.

Com­pany boss Ge­orgina Bates says the sit­u­a­tion has been get­ting worse.

She said: “It’s an ab­so­lute night­mare, it’s just the sheer vol­ume of traf­fic us­ing the roads, they are not de­signed for it.

“The road­works are caus­ing ma­jor prob­lems and peo­ple are get­ting fed up with what’s hap­pen­ing in town. It seems to be get­ting worse not bet­ter.

“Our coaches to Home­wood are queue­ing along Brook­field Road as far as the Murco garage.

“Our driv­ers have never had to queue in Knoll Lane, but now it is ev­ery morn­ing, as traf­fic in Tithe Barn Lane queues to turn right into the A28, not left to go Com­pany boss Ge­orgina Bates, of Scot­land and Bates to Ten­ter­den. Peo­ple are tak­ing the long way round to go via Mata­lan.

“KCC said there would be min­i­mal dis­rup­tion, but I don’t think that’s fair to say.”

Her con­cerns have been echoed by Stage­coach, which runs the ma­jor­ity of bus routes, in­clud­ing 25 buses per hour which ei­ther stop at the De­signer Out­let in Kim­ber­ley Way or Asda or go past it. Stage­coach com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Matthew May­tum said driv­ers were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­lays along the route.

A post on the com­pany web­site stated: “Due to up­grade works to the traf­fic lights and lanes in and around Sta­tion Road, Ash­ford we are see­ing some heavy de­lays to ser­vices. Tem­po­rary lights and lane clo­sures are in place which is hav­ing an ef­fect on our abil­ity to run buses on time.

“Some ser­vices will be di­vert­ing be­tween Asda and the town cen­tre via Beaver Road to avoid the tail­backs.

“We re­gret the de­lays this will cause, but no stops will be missed in the di­ver­sion route which is de­signed to avoid the traf­fic.”

Have you or your child been af­fected by the traf­fic de­lays? Con­tact our news­room on 01233 895801 or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk The work around Sta­tion Road and El­wick Road is to im­prove pedes­trian cross­ings and to widen the road. KCC High­ways say the work is due to be com­pleted by De­cem­ber.

Cabi­net mem­ber Cllr Matthew Bal­four said: “This work will im­prove traf­fic flow in the area, some­thing we think is im­por­tant con­sid­er­ing the many devel­op­ments be­ing de­liv­ered in Ash­ford town cen­tre.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate there will be some dis­rup­tion but there will be no changes to the speed re­stric­tions or any road clo­sures.

“We have asked our con­trac­tor to work ex­tended hours to re­duce the con­struc­tion du­ra­tion and will con­tinue to work closely with them to iden­tify any ar­eas where ef­fi­cien­cies can be achieved wher­ever pos­si­ble.”

Pic­ture: Wayne McCabe FM3951807

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