Thanet open-toppers revived

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Route 69 is operating using a pair Alexander ALX400-bodied Dennis Tridents converted by Stagecoach SE, which carry the historic East Kent livery. STAGECOACH SE
Route 69 is operating using a pair Alexander ALX400-bodied Dennis Tridents converted by Stagecoach SE, which carry the historic East Kent livery. STAGECOACH SE

Open-top buses have returned to Thanet after an absence of nearly 25 years. Stagecoach South East (SE) started operating the revived route 69 on Saturday (July 23), which will run daily between Ramsgate, Boating Pool and Broadstairs, Stone Bay  until September 4.

Matthew Maytum, Communications Officer Stagecoach SE told CBW: “The journey runs along some of the region’s finest coastline at Stone Bay and Dumpton Gap. Passengers can hop on and off at bus stops all along the route, which also passes through Ramsgate Harbour and Victoria Parade in Broadstairs.

“An extensive promotional campaign has been run on social media, and a stock of dedicated route 69 paper leaflets have been distributed. Fares are £2 adult single between any two points or along the entire route. A Dayrider ticket is also valid on the service.”

The service is part of Stagecoach SE’s year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of East Kent buses. The pair of former Stagecoach London Alexander ALX400-bodied Dennis Tridents have been converted to open-top by Stagecoach SE. Wrapped in the original East Kent maroon and cream colours, their livery commemorates the formation of the East Kent Road Car Company in 1916 – which still operates today under the name Stagecoach SE. The design also features a series of images of some of the key places along the route.

“We hope that if the open-top buses prove popular, they’ll be able to run it again next summer, with the possibility of an extended route,” Matthew added.

“We are also making the open-toppers available for private hire. In fact, we’ve already received the first booking, and we’ve had many more enquiries.”

For enquiries email [email protected].

Seaside open-top buses were first introduced in Thanet in 1959 and ran every summer throughout the 60s and 70s before services slowly declined in the 1980s.