Bus services in Kent

Image of two buses driving on the road

Last updated: 24 July 2023

This page is for residents to find out the latest information on bus services in Kent.

Who runs bus services

We don’t run bus services in Kent, they are run for profit by private bus operators. We do not have the powers or funding of an organisation like Transport for London.

However, we do provide funding to subsidise some routes or services that are not viable for private bus operators to run.

Bus use in Kent, as with rest of the UK, has only partially recovered since the pandemic. Local use of buses is around 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with off-peak use being much less than this.

Changes to bus services in Kent

Most changes to bus services have been proposed by private bus companies (affecting more than 100 services), some of which impact on school routes. View the list of bus services affected.

Bus operators continue to face significant financial pressures from rising costs, significantly lower passenger numbers since the pandemic and a shortage of drivers.

These services are not provided, or subsidised, by KCC.

In recognition of the impact these bus operator cuts would have on pupils and their families, we worked closely with them during the summer to provide a range of different measures to enable as many pupils as possible to get to school from September and protect as many school buses as possible at least until the end of the current school year. This is detailed in the bus service list below. This work resulted in a much better position for passengers than was thought possible earlier in the summer.

The 100+ bus withdrawals announced this year by private bus operators are entirely separate to the 38 bus contracts we planned to withdraw subsidies from. We consulted on these bus reduction plans in the summer, and councillors voted to proceed with the planned subsidy withdrawals at the Full Council meeting on 20 October, to achieve a saving of £2.2 million. These services will stop on 12 February 2023.

KCC continues to invest over £30 million in support of Kent’s bus network and its users. This includes subsidising more than 80 bus routes, subsidising the costs of bus travel for students through the Kent Travel Saver and 16+ schemes and supporting free travel for elderly and disabled bus users.

In recognition of the importance that local communities place on bus services, this year we have significantly boosted the money available for local community transport schemes, increasing the fund from £100,000 to £450,000. We will be inviting applications from local communities shortly – find out more about community transport schemes. The decision to find the funding to protect the Kent Karriers also acknowledged the role that these services play, particularly when other bus services are struggling to survive and, in some instances, are being withdrawn or reduced by operators.

We have also committed to setting up a cross-party group to develop our future bus policy.

The latest bus service updates

These are the known and anticipated changes and cancellations to bus services in Kent, including the services affected by our subsidy withdrawals. The information shows services that are provided on a commercial basis (by bus operators) and those that are funded by us.

We are working with operators to try to provide some alternative services. When we receive information about alternative services, the information below will be updated.

Bus number Operator Route Change and impact Date of expected change Latest update
StagecoachAshford to CanterburyRoute changed to remove the service from Wye.13 August 2023-
2StagecoachAshford to TenterdenWithdrawn - leaving Bethersden, High Halden and Great Chart without a service.13 August 2023Stagecoach will now continue to provide morning service 2 and an afternoon service 2A at school times and a limited off peak service for the villages.

For Ashford schools, Scotland and Bates AS services are available.

For Homewood School the Stagecoach 962 and Kent Coach Tours HS1 can be used.
2AStagecoachAshford to TenterdenSunday service withdrawn and service removed from Park Farm.13 August 2023-
4ArrivaMaidstone to DownswoodSchool journeys across Maidstone between Downswood/Madginford and Oakwood Park merged with service 9 (so will start from Downswood at 0711 instead of current 0737 and return at 1636 instead of 1620).23 July 2023-
5 Arriva Sandhurst to Maidstone Will no longer serve Sandhurst or Staplehurst Station.

1844 ex Sandhurst and 1855 ex Maidstone journeys both cancelled.
 23 July 2023 349 service operates between Sandhurst and Hawkhurst.
8Arriva Maidstone to Fant to Barming to Maidstone HospitalService withdrawn.

Fant and Beverley Road left without service.

Nearest alternative services on Tonbridge Road.
 23 July 2023 Nu-Venture will operate a 78 service running via Upper Fant twice a day Monday to Friday.
9Arriva Bearsted to Grove Green to MaidstoneSchool bus to Oakwood Park will no longer serve Bearsted. 23 July 2023 -
StagecoachFolkestone to AshfordService withdrawn from Eureka Park, Lympne and Port Lympne.4 September 2023Morning school journey on the 10A reintroduced to Lympne.

In the afternoon students would have to use service 10 to Newingreen or catch the 971 which serves Lympne directly, but later.
StagecoachFolkestone to Ashford and Ashford to MaidstoneSunday Service withdrawn.13 August 2023-
12Arriva Maidstone to TenterdenService withdrawn from Headcorn Station but continue to serve Headcorn on the A274. 23 July 2023 -
StagecoachHythe to Folkestone to Canterbury16A and B withdrawn and 16 removed from Hythe.4 September 2023Capacity is available on alternative service 102.

New service 974 will operate pm only replacing the 16B.
19StagecoachSwingfield Minnis to Folkestone -to HytheWill only operate between Folkestone and Brockhill Park.4 September 2023Services 972, 973 and 975 will provide alternative service between Hawkinge, Folkestone and Brockhill Park School.
55ArrivaRinglestone to MaidstoneService withdrawn.

Nu-Venture 29 operates 2 days per week.
 23 July 2023 Nu-Venture will operate a replacement 55 service operating 3 times a day Monday to Friday.
70StagecoachFolkestone to ShorncliffeService withdrawn.4 September 2023-
73StagecoachHawkinge to FolkestoneService withdrawn.4 September 2023New services 73 and 74 will provide replacement services on Mondays to Fridays including at school times.

The Saturday service will not be replaced.
StagecoachBroadmead to Folkestone to East CliffService withdrawn.4 September 2023New services 73 and 74 will provide replacement services on Mondays to Fridays including at school times.

The Saturday service will not be replaced.
79ArrivaPenenden Heath to MaidstoneService withdrawn.

Nu-Venture 130 service will continue to operate along the Boxley Road.
 23 July 2023 Nu-Venture will introduce a replacement 130A running from Penenden Heath twice a day Monday to Friday.
105StagecoachLydd to Folkestone via New RomneyService withdrawn.4 September 2023-
334Arriva Sheerness to MaidstoneService withdrawn. 23 July 2023 Replacement service will be operated by Chalkwell between Sheerness and Sittingbourne. Offering connections to Maidstone on the Stagecoach X3 service.
517StagecoachAshford to SingletonService withdrawn.13 August 2023Alternative services A-Line and 518 are available.
642Arriva Cornwallis AcademyWithdrawn from Langley Heath owing to health and safety concerns.23 July 2023Journey can be completed using service 13 and changing onto alternative Cornwallis buses on the Loose Road.
A/DStagecoachStanhope to AshfordReduced frequencies and withdrawal of late evening service after 2130.13 August 2023-
BStagecoachKennington to Ashford to BridgefieldReduced frequencies and withdrawal of late evening service after 2000.13 August 2023-
CStagecoachAshford to Willesborough to William Harvey HospitalReduced frequencies and withdrawal of late evening service after 2200.13 August 2023-
D13Go CoachWest Kingsdown to Wilmington SchoolsService withdrawn.4 September 2023Capacity is available on alternative services 414 and D30
GStagecoachGodinton Park to South WillesboroughPeak time journeys withdrawn.13 August 2023-
HC2Go CoachOtford to Hugh ChristieService withdrawn.4 September 2023Hugh Christie will be providing an alternative service for students using a community transport grant awarded by KCC.
HCR2Hadlow Community CollegeEast Peckham to Hadlow CollegeService withdrawn by Hadlow Community College.4 September 2023HCR1 has been re-routed to cover the withdrawn service for East Peckham.

Or download the full list of service withdrawals planned (PDF, 133.3 KB).