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Recreation

BUSES RETURN TO LYMPNE

LYMPNE celebrates the return of the bus service to the village from 13th November

Published: October 10, 2023

Lympne gets buses back

Bus services will be restored to Lympne from mid-November.

Stagecoach has confirmed a service will resume on a trial basis linking the village with Hythe and Folkestone, and the William Harvey Hospital and Ashford.

The bus company’s Managing Director, Joel Mitchell, said “I’m pleased we can now bring buses back to Lympne, but we do need people to use them to secure the long-term future of the service.”

Although school-time buses have continued to run, the village has been without a regular daytime service since the beginning of September when the company made changes to curb what it described as ongoing and significant financial losses. Nationally, bus use has not recovered above around 80% of the pre-Covid level, and Stagecoach, like other bus operators, say they are struggling with significant operating cost increases too.

Mr Mitchell said “Maximising opportunities for travel and creating more connections is ultimately the only way of achieving a sustainable bus network, which is why we always hoped to be able to reinstate a service at Lympne.

“Where there’s no local authority funding available to help support a bus service, and passenger numbers outside of school flows have reduced since the pandemic; it’s a difficult problem to solve.

“But we now have some extra service commitments that we’re running on behalf of the County Council in the Ashford area, which mean we’ve been able to rework our bus schedules to create enough scope to restore an hourly daytime service in the village.”

Mr Mitchell confirmed he had met with Cllr Jim Martin, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, to discuss the issues around local bus services.

“We’ve been impressed by the level of support for a bus service expressed by the local community, and also the leadership Folkestone & Hythe District Council has shown in recognising the importance of buses for sustainable transport in the district.

“As a result, I feel confident enough to place a commercial service back through Lympne, initially on a trial basis.

“Hopefully people can see that we will do all we can, working in partnership with local government and communities, to provide every possible opportunity for people to use buses to get around.”

Councillor Jim Martin, leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, said: “We are very pleased to have this service restored. Councillors received many complaints about changes

and reductions in service and we have taken these to Stagecoach. Along with residents of Lympne we are very grateful that the company has been able to bring back the daytime buses and we fully recognise that this service must be used to protect its future. It is quite simply – use it or lose it.”

Route 10 will operate an hourly Monday to Saturday service via Lympne from Monday 13 November.

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