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ARRIVA LATEST: Rival bus boss warns of big problems after Easter

Friday 31st March 2017

BUS boss Norman Kemp has spoken of his fears for the service levels Arriva customers will face in the light of changes - especially when children return to school after Easter.

Mr Kemp jokingly likened it to a "nuclear bomb going off" as his Nu-Venture company launched some new services designed to provide alternatives to the Arriva cuts.

He told Daily Downs Mail: "I know they have had a big campaign going and had lots of press coverage from the likes of Downs Mail but it won't get to everyone. Some people just will not have seen it or they think it won't apply to them.

"Most children have broken up today from school and by the time they go back the changes to the Arriva timetable will be in place.

"Come April 18, it could be like a nuclear bomb going off. To be fair to Arriva, they have been putting out positive messages but you have to be realistic. People will be caught out and we anticipate problems and a few sob stories about children missing buses and the like."

Mr Kemp said he has deployed the spare capacity in his fleet of buses to make a series of changes, some of which help to plug the gaps left by Arriva's changes.

He added: "We are at the limit of what we can do with what we have."

Arriva has faced a volley of criticism from users, parents of schoolchildren, head teachers, MPs and othe local representatives.

Aylesford-based Nu-Venture service said that in April it will run:

Nu-Venture Bus 1 – Gatland Lane/Fant/Maidstone – new hourly off-peak service 1 (Mondays to Fridays) commences 3 April 2017.

Bus 6 – Mascalls Academy/Wateringbury/Barming/Maidstone – Nu-Venture will operate an after-school journey at 1508 from 18 April.

Nu-Venture Buses 23, 26, 26A and 27 – a new timetable commences 3 April 2017; Some journeys will be slightly retimed. During Highways works, bus 23 is not able to serve E/W Farleigh, Yalding, Benover, Laddingford from 10 to 13 April.

New bus services 22 and 25 will serve Gallants Lane, East Farleigh.

Nu-Venture Bus 77 – new, limited Mondays to Fridays service West Malling/Kings Hill/Mereworth/Tonbridge (some journeys to/from Tunbridge Wells) and including school buses 148/148A between W Malling /Kings Hill/Tonbridge. See new timetable leaflet.

Nu-Venture Bus 78 – from 3 April during roadworks, unable to serve North St/Heath Rd/Beverley Rd. (Times at Barming ‘Bull’ unchanged)

Nu-Venture Bus 79A 79C serving Palace Wood/Allington – minor changes to bus times from 18 April. Bus 79A will be diverted away from Grace Avenue but will still serve Tintern Road.

Nu-Venture Bus 130 – route into Maidstone continues to be altered temporarily during road works. Buses TO MAIDSTONE operate from Boxley Road via Holland Rd/Sittingbourne Rd to King Street, NOT SERVING MAIDSTONE EAST STATION. Buses from Maidstone are unaltered - but may be subject to delays because of road works.

Nu-Venture Bus 151 – SATURDAYS from 8 April - Extended to operate beyond Kings Hill to/from Mereworth; timetable completely revised. Very minor changes to the Mondays to Fridays service.

Mondays to Saturdays Evenings Bus 155 introduced serving Chatham – Borstal – Wouldham – Burham – Eccles – Aylesford – Maidstone.

Nu-Venture Bus 277 282 283 285 - Tunbridge Wells area – revised times from 3 April