Arriva route goes public
Arriva Southern Counties is now running the route connecting Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals as a public service, numbered 6X. The buses provided under contract to the local NHS Trust and had previously been for the exclusive use of NHS staff needing to travel between the two hospitals. It had come about as a result of the opening in 2011 of the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital and the transfer of certain departments between the two sites. It was originally run by Kent Top Travel under the number MTW1, but the contract was transferred to Arriva in August of this year following the previous operator’s demise. By opening up the service to the general public it should now be able to generate revenue to help offset the cost of the contract. It will also make available new links to Maidstone Hospital and quicker links to Tunbridge Wells Hospital from the villages to the west of Maidstone. The 6X runs to the same basic timetable seven days a week between 06.20 and 22.00, with a 45 minute frequency for the main part of the day but with adjustments to cater for the main shift change times for the hospital staff.
Arriva Southern Counties’ Regional Publicity Manager, Richard Lewis, said, ‘The local population in Barming, Teston, Wateringbury and Nettlestead will also benefit as they now have direct links to Maidstone Hospital, together with additional, quicker, buses from their local bus stops to Tunbridge Wells Hospital. With the 6X running seven days a week, this also adds a Sunday service from the villages to Tunbridge Wells Hospital which was previously not accessible without changing buses in Tonbridge.’