Maidstone park and ride to be withdrawn in February 2022

Maidstone park and ride to be withdrawn

The Maidstone park-and-ride service will be withdrawn after 19 February 2022, operator Arriva has announced.

The group blames a “huge reduction in commuter movements” for the decision. It says that it worked closely with Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) in an attempt to find a way for the two-site service to continue, but no solution could be found.

In addition to a damaging loss of commuter traffic, leisure passenger numbers have failed to return to the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. That, says Arriva, leaves the commercially operated service as no longer financially viable. It is currently served with three Alexander Dennis Enviro200s with a dedicated brand.

Adds Area Head of Commercial – Kent, Surrey and Essex Michael Jennings: “I would like to thank all of our Maidstone park-and-ride customers and our dedicated team, who have been amazing throughout the difficult times associated with the pandemic.

“Myself and the rest of the team have done everything we can to keep us from having to make this difficult decision, but unfortunately it has not been possible on this occasion.”

MBC says it is “disappointed” with news of the withdrawal but adds that it understands Arriva’s reasoning for the decision.

Says Chair of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee Cllr Paul Cooper: “We know that there had been a modest increase in the number of people using the service as lockdown restrictions initially lifted. However, [other] passengers have not returned to use the service and numbers have not met pre-pandemic levels, which has made it very difficult for Arriva.

“We understand how hard it has been for any business trying to survive in these very unusual circumstances that none of us could have predicted. The council has facilitated the park-and-ride service as much as we possibly could prior to and throughout COVID-19, but understands why Arriva has made the decision to withdraw it.”