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* * * News for 26th April 2007 * * *

Rochester South & Horsted: 26th April 2007

Bus Local 'Bus Service to be Reduced

The local No. 105 'bus is planned to reduce to hourly at off-peak times

Residents of the Davis Estate and elsewhere along the route of the little Hopper-style route 105 'bus service have been alarmed to discover that Arriva plann to reduce the frequency of this service again. Not so many years ago it was reduced from three per hour to two, and the latest plan is to cut this still further—to just one each hour at off-peak times of the day.

Unlike previous proposals (such as clearways, and adding new fixed stops on the Davis Estate) this was not notified to your ward councillors, so we found out about this only very recently—too late to start a campaign to make strong representations from users of this service within the public consultation period.

Even so, a petition has been started (both door-to-door and at local shops) by one of our Davis Estate residents, and we shall shortly be making a strong representation to Arriva about both the proposal and the apparently secretive way they have gone about public consultation, i.e. to try to avoid doing so in any meaningful fashion.

We are also aware of a "wheeze" being used by the 'bus operator in issuing their reduced-fare tickets with a false starting point, which could easily be used to skew usage figures which might then be quoted to justify service reduction. Of course, they'd undoubtedly still receive just as much subsidy (as this is a fixed amount) from the council...

We shall report back any progress we make, and how many signatures were on the petition and when it was presented, once that has happened.