Sunday 1 June 2014

Council check: Kent County Council

Each Sunday, we look at a local council and how it promotes the bus services in its area. This week, it's the turn of Kent County Council.

Where do the buses go?

We have a range of maps at our disposal: a county-wide one, which includes the breakway Borough of Medway, not official covered by Kent County Council. Each major town and city has its own detailed map, including enlargements of the town and city centres. 5 out of 5.


No timetables on the council's website, but you can easily find out the operator you need to go to for details about each route. There is also a clear link to Traveline on which you can find timetables for all routes in Kent and beyond. 4 out of 5.


Plusbus is mentioned, but other than that: nothing. No multi-operator ticket exists according to the council. You have to go to Stagecoach's website to find out about the Explorer ticket which is accepted by many operators - but the council doesn't tell you that. Arriva also offers the Explorer ticket, but their leaflet is out of date. No information from the council on how to find out about single and return fares is offered although contact details for all bus operators in Kent is provided. 1 out of 5.

Rail destinations in Kent for which Plusbus tickets are available.


So we have excellent maps, timetables over on Traveline with a clear link, but totally inadequate ticketing information. Kent County Council scores a total of 10 out of 15.


  1. The Explorer ticket no longer exists (withdrawn 19th May) and has been replaced by the "Discovery" ticket with more or less the same validity (but a higher price)!

    1. Is this right? My understanding was that Explorer still exists in Kent but Discovery has replaced it in Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. See the post elsewhere on this blog.

  2. Medway is a unitary authority formed out of the former Kent Districts in that area so is itself a separate transport authority.

    The maps on the KCC website are not always correct or regularly updated - despite claims to the contrary - and printed publicity is not always easy to get on the ground.

    Arriva have closed their enquiry offices in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone (who would often stock leaflets for other operators supported services) and the libraries and TIC's frequently don't have anything or know what is current. A one leaflet only policy at Tun Wells TIC - usually a poor photocopy.

  3. Going OT here but can't find an answer anywhere else. Has the Omnibuses blog gone offline?

    1. Yes, it would seem that Mr Busing's welcome return a month ago was short lived. I do hope that he feels up to returning, but he set the bar high with his early quality output and wide industry following.

  4. Shame about the Omnibuses blog,and rather odd the author did not take the time to tell anyone.Perhaps he has been gagged?

  5. As an add on to my earlier observation I had to go to Tunbridge Wells a couple of days ago. The library which is in the town centre rarely has any bus information and the TIC is a very small unit tucked away near the Pantiles some distance away from the centre which will only reluctantly part with one leaflet - and you must state which service you require it for.

    I therefore stopped off at Tonbridge where there is a New Enterprise (a subsidiary of Arriva) enquiry office a few yards from the Railway Station. They primarily sell their tours and excursions but also handle bus enquiries and apart from their own leaflet have a rack of Arriva, BH&D, Metrobus, National Express and KCC leaflets. Unfortunately apart from Arriva not comprehensive but visible to passing trade and very helpful.

    Until recently KCC produced the timetables of supported services provided by smaller operators, distributed them and updated all the bus stops. This responsibility has now been passed to the operators.

    I have read in the last few days that some real time information displays at bus stops are being withdrawn/removed as KCC can't afford to fund them!

    The county and area maps which people do find helpful as a starting point only tend to be in stock until initial supplies have gone and are not often restocked.

    So on a local basis I wouldn't give them as a high a score as you have.


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