235 School Bus Service from the Autumn Term

Published: 15 July 2022

Leigh Parish Council is working with Penshurst Parish Council in order to try and facilitate a solution to the issues relating to the 235 bus service.

We have spoken to Autocar, who say that the funding for the school service has not been withdrawn but because Kent County Council (KCC) has withdrawn funding for services during the day, the bus will be out of use during the day and Autocar just cannot afford to run this bus without the daytime service. Unfortunately bus usage during the day fell during Covid and has not recovered, so this is why the daytime services are being withdrawn. This does not, however, take into account our rural area and how the bus is a lifeline for some who have no other means of transport.

As at today, the 235 service is under threat of withdrawal. KCC has to give 70 days’ notice to withdraw the service and this has not yet happened, so the earliest this service will be withdrawn (if at all) is Oct/Nov/Dec. We completely understand how worrying this is for families. The Parish Council is doing all it can to find a solution but the provision of transport is not within our power and we do not have the funding to do so.

All families who are affected by this potential bus change should email the following people and make it clear that you want KCC to provide the funding. KCC has the responsibility to provide transport to school for children who attend their nearest suitable school. This does not include grammar schools and faith schools now. However, how will your children get to school? If the only option is for parents to take their children to school, there will be other issues, such as environment/pollution, traffic congestion, physical ability to drive there with possibly children at different schools, parents who work etc.

Margot McArthur margot.mcarthur@kent.gov.uk Your County Councillor, who will have the mandate to push your requests forward at KCC if you contact her. Also Deputy Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services.

David Brazier david.brazier@kent.gov.uk Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport KCC

Sue Chandler sue.chandler@kent.gov.uk Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services KCC

Roger Gough roger.gough@kent.gov.uk Leader of KCC