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22 Feb 2019
Bus operator Stagecoach will be adjusting timetables on some Ashford bus routes next week in a bid to beat the town’s escalating traffic congestion.
Timetables on routes B and C will benefit from extra buses to help maintain an even frequency and reduce the risk of late running. There will also be extra ‘recovery time’ built in to ensure buses leave on schedule. Timetables on routes A and D will also be adjusted.
The company says that journey times in Ashford have increased over the years due to more traffic on the roads and slower average road speeds. Route C buses have been particularly affected with journeys between the hospital and town centre taking up to 50% longer at peak times compared to 2009.
“As Ashford expands and develops, so too have the demands on the road transport infrastructure” said Matthew Arnold, Stagecoach Commercial Director for the South East region.
“We know from our own monitoring that some peak-time journeys in Ashford are taking up to 50% longer than they did a decade ago. More and more traffic and slower road speeds are to blame which is also affecting air quality.”
Stagecoach point out that another problem in the town has been sporadic and variable congestion caused by road works and road closures.
“Unfortunately it's very difficult to plan for this but we can make changes that help our services become more resilient to these conditions and cope better with the general rise in congestion.
“We’re doing this by pulling in some additional resource (this includes extra buses) without any financial support from outside Stagecoach.
“We hope these changes will make a real difference to the reliability of our services, but we continue to call upon local authorities to act to reduce congestion, improve traffic flow and encourage a shift to sustainable transport.”
In 2018 there were nearly 4 million passenger journeys by bus in the Ashford area.
Stagecoach route B bus times are set to change next week along with routes A, C and D.