10 Apr 2018
• 35% increase in customers leads to introduction of larger vehicles from June
• Changes will deliver more seats per hour and extra leg room for customers
Ashford’s little & often bus service will get a little bigger from June.
Stagecoach has confirmed that it is to introduce larger minibuses to the popular high frequency service, providing more seats with extra space and legroom for customers.
The bus company introduced the minibus service in February 2017 with small vehicles operating at a high frequency on routes B and C serving the hospital, town centre, rail station, Kennington and Park Farm.
Since the introduction of little & often, Stagecoach has seen 35% more passenger journeys on those routes. Of those new passengers, 60% previously travelled by car, a Stagecoach passenger survey found.
Despite this success, in the same survey, 45% of customers reported that they were not satisfied with the space and comfort of the seats. The bus firm has taken this feedback into consideration when planning these changes to the little & often network.
The replacement buses will offer nearly 60% more seating capacity than the current minibuses which Stagecoach says will open up more travel options and reassure those concerned by the limited seating available.
Stagecoach Commercial Director, Matthew Arnold said “We’ve seen a fantastic 35% increase in passenger numbers since we introduced little & often, but we’ve now reached a point where we can’t support further growth with the existing vehicles so we’re pleased to be bringing in vehicles with additional capacity. It’s now time for little & often to evolve to the next stage.”
Under the revised scheme, little & often route B will see a 32% increase in seating capacity per hour, whilst route C will benefit from a 59% increase in seating capacity per hour. Stagecoach has confirmed that the frequency of buses on both routes will remain high with route C unchanged and route B changing from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes. Little & often routes B and C will continue to operate the same routes as now.