Bus route funding
There are fears that the elderly, the vulnerable and children could be left stranded in their villages after council chiefs announced a plan to axe bus subsidies.
Kent County Council (KCC) has announced that as many as 78 routes where services which are subsidised by taxpayers could be scrapped if the cuts are agreed.
The Tory-run authority wants to claw back £2 million next year and £2m the year after by cutting the Socially Necessary Bus Services (SNBS).
But critics say it is a cut to a frontline service which allows people without access to a car to travel to work, school, hospital and into town.
In Ashford and Tenterden there could be as many as 16 services hit, including school buses to the Wye Free School and to Homewood, and services such as the 2A between the two towns, and the 123 which connects villages such as Little Chart and Hothfield to Ashford.
Hothfield Parish Council chairman David Parker said: “We have a number of bus passengers in our village who I see at the bus stop every morning, and they rely on the service to get to Ashford and elsewhere. Any suggestion of risk to bus services would be of great concern.”
Tenterden and its surrounding villages could see services affected, and town councillor Ken Mulholland said the news was concerning.
He said: “The current services are not tremendous, if there are further cuts or increases in fares that would be very negative.
“Some people don’t have a car and would be stranded.”
Ashford Cllr George Koowaree (Lib Dem) criticised the plan.
He said: “We have to have the right balance between the private car and public transport because of the elderly and others who depend on it.
“They say there won’t be cuts to frontline services, but the frontline is affected.
“KCC says it is a caring council, but people who are really in need don’t get cared for.”
KCC will propose which serv-
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Tenterden town councillor Ken Mulholland, left, said the news was concerning, while Ashford councillor George Koowaree, right, was also critical of the plan