Sunday, 22 April 2012

Demand secures permanent highspeed services to Deal & Sandwich

Kent County Council has confirmed it will continue subsidising Southeastern highspeed services to Deal & Sandwich for the next two years until the current franchise expires in 2014, then a new franchise should secure an all day service. The number of commuters using the service has soared and overall trips to and from Deal have increased 30% since September when the service was introduced.

KCC cabinet member for transport Cllr Bryan Sweetland said the number of season ticket holders using the high speed link in the East Kent towns had grown dramatically and this was expected to increase even more. He said “We’ve seen passenger numbers rise from a dozen to over 100 and that’s going to grow to a couple of hundred, the initial driver for us to subsidise the service was to support the regeneration in light of the Pfizer withdrawal. Confidence is growing and we took the decision to continue. I’ve been working with campaign group Trains4Deal and there are few things we need to tweak with the service.”

The subsidy will be reduced from last year due to the increase in season ticket holders using the daily fast link, which has three trains in the morning and two returning from St Pancras in the evening.

On Thursday 19th April BBC Radio Kent were live at "Platform 1" Deal station’s brand new cafĂ© speaking about the importance of the service for Deal and how more highspeed trains are now required during the day. A clip from the show can be listened to below.

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