Stagecoach in East Kent launched its first ever Stagecoach Gold bus service on Friday, October 31.
Route 16, Canterbury to Hythe via Hawkinge and Folkestone, was transformed into Stagecoach Gold 16 on November 2. The company has invested £2m in 10 brand new, high-specification ADL Enviro400s that come complete with high-back leather seats, free WiFi and are driven by ‘specially trained drivers.’
Philip Norwell, Managing Director of Stagecoach in East Kent said: “12 years ago we only ran one bus an hour on route 16 and since then we have continually enhanced the service by increasing the frequency, which is now up to every 15 minutes, and encouraged passenger growth. Using our first ever fleet of luxury vehicles on the route is the next stage of the enhancement.
“We carried well over one million passengers on the route last year so this is also about giving back to them. All route 16 passengers can now expect luxury as standard.”
The official launch event for the new service was held at the Grand Hotel in Folkestone and was attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Canterbury, the Mayors of Hawkinge, Folkestone and Hythe, the Vice-Chairman of Shepway District Council and the leaders of Canterbury City and Shepway District Councils.
Cllr John Gilbey, leader of Canterbury City Council said: “This brilliant, innovative change in a mostly rural bus route from Canterbury to Folkestone and Hythe is yet one more example of close co-operation between partners. The frequency and luxury presented in this service is exceptional. Stagecoach is once again to be highly commended for this huge upgrade.”