10 MAR 2015

Helen Grant MP Wins Deal for Pensioners with Renown Buses - Including a day trip to the New Forrest this Summer!

Maidstone, Kent 10-03-15: Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant continued with her mission to get a better deal for pensioners last week. Senior representatives from Renown buses heeded a call from Helen to meet with residents of Harmsworth Court retirement homes in Benenden on Friday 7th March to address several issues they had raised previously with their MP. Kent County Council were also in attendance to address problems relating to connections and free bus passes.

The meeting concluded with agreements from Renown to;

  • Provide more information on their website regarding delays and cancelled services
  • Monitor and respond to bad behaviour by passengers and drivers
  • Ensure buses are kept as clean and dry as possible
  • Include Benenden on some existing coach trip routes if sufficient numbers are interested

Philip Lightowler – Head of Public Transport at KCC also agreed to conduct a full review of the service in the area to see of any connection improvements can be made. In relation to the English National Concessionary Scheme (Senior Citizens Bus Pass) Helen Grant will be approaching KCC Cabinet Member for Transport, Matthew Balfour, to urge that the scheme be varied to re-instate the ability for passes to be used prior to 9:30am, which would benefit many older people for a range of reasons.

As a special gesture of goodwill Renown also pledged to put on a day trip by coach to the New Forest this summer, with a pub lunch, which was received with a warm welcome from everyone.

Helen said 'The problems and challenges we raised today are not peculiar to Benenden residents – they affect hundreds of people who use bus services across Kent and Sussex. I am pleased we have now made a start to redress the situation and was very happy with the approach taken by Renown and KCC. As for the day trip to the New Forest – I'm minded to go along too. Let's see.'

Photo: Helen Grant MP together with Karen Chapman – Manager at Harmsworth Court (top left), Christian Harmer- Chief Executive at Renown Top Right, Philip Lightowler – Head of Public Transport at KCC (top row, second from right) and residents of Harmsworth Court.

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