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May 04 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Chalkwell exits the Kent-London commuter market

After 25 years of operating commuter services between Kent and London, Sittingbourne-based Chalkwell is ceasing all its commuter operations.

The firm says: “This has not been an easy decision but the commercial viability of operating our own services has reached a level where it is no longer sustainable.

“Chalkwell will continue to be a family-owned and operated business, but we will focus on our other activities including coach hire, day-breaks and holidays, and local bus services.”

The last 784 service operates from Maidstone on Friday (5 May) and the last 731 service operates from Medway on 26 May.

In an effort to ease the inconvenience to passengers, Chalkwell has agreed with National Express-owned The Kings Ferry that all valid Chalkwell tickets will be accepted for travel on its commuter routes in Swale, Medway or Maidstone.

The Kings Ferry operates 38 daily services, serving Rainham, Bridgewood, Maidstone and Swale. These include routes almost identical to the current Chalkwell routes.

The pressure of congestion in London - mainly with the implementation of cycle lanes - parking restrictions and the impact of the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) have made it increasingly difficult for all commuter coach operators in the capital.

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