‘Slowdeath’of Park andRide

THE man who created Maid- stone’s Park and Ride has slammed transport chiefs for in- flicting a “deathby stealth” onthe service. DavidHall (pictured) claims the

borough council had been reduc- ing the scheme for years, adding: “The deterioration is plain to see”. He told Downs Mail motorists

once queuedto get into the four car parks designated for the service. Today, there are just two, and nei- ther is full. In addition, he said, double-

decker buses ran every sevenmin- utes at peak Christmas times, and the 1,500 spaces took1,000workers’ vehicles off the streets every day. “The scheme was so successful,

it led to many towns copying the approach,” he said. Mr Hall, who was recruited by

the borough 30 years ago to launch Park and Ride, spoke out after DownsMail revealed the council’s last-ditch plans to find a commer- cial operator willing to take the loss-making service off its hands. “Park and Ride requires careful

management, knowledge and close liaisonwith the bus operator. “This expertise has been gradu-

ally lost and, together with the re- moval of full-time attendants, the creeping perception of service de- terioration has ledto reduceduse.” He added: “It is difficult to see howMaidstone Park and Ride can

survive. This approach goes against the strategy ofmany large towns and cities across the UK. It has suffered death by stealth. “With diminishing use, it will de- teriorate to the pointwhereMaid- stone Borough Council will disconnect the lifeline. But I doubt if there is a realistic plan to accom- modate the vehicles that still use the service in the town centre.” His comments came just days

after borough councillor Denis Spooner told Bearsted Parish Council he was sceptical Maid- stone could find an operator to take the scheme on. “I think itwill close inMaywhen the contract ex- pires,” he said. Last year, the serv- ice cost taxpayers £242,000 in subsidies, with this year’s figure expected to top £310,000. Letters, pages 38&39

Drink-drive campaign

POLICE have launched a blitz across Maidstone to root out mo- torists who hit the road while under the influence of drugs or al- cohol. Specialpatrolswill targethighrisk

locations within the borough, with officers pledging zero tolerance and an intelligence-led approach. Police will carry out breath tests,

drug swipes and field impairment tests throughout the day and night, with the promise of arrests, charges and court appearances for those who fall foul of the law. Sergeant Ben Brennan from

Kent’s Roads PolicingUnit said: “At this time of year we know every- onewants to enjoy themselves but we ask people to do so responsibly and to arrange to get home safely.

“Drivers are not only risking their

own life, but the lives of their pas- sengers as well as other innocent motorists or pedestrians. “There is no excuse for driving

under the influence.” Kent Police say ifmotorists have

been drinking, time is the onlyway to get alcohol out of their system. Punishment for offenders is se-

vere. Causing death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs can result in 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and dis- qualification for at least two years. Driving or attempting to drive

whilst over the limit carries penal- ties of six months in prison plus a fine of up to £5,000 and disqualifi- cation from driving for at least 12 months.

Compassionate Day Care in Maidstone

Mon, Tue, Wed & Fri from 9.30 - 3.30pm

At our Daycare Centre St Stephens Square, Tovil, Maidstone

Fun activities and outings, exercise classes, coffee mornings, quizzes and much more.

Full & half days available. - Mini bus transport subject to availability.

Two course lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Great support from fully trained care staff.

Free assessment and trial day available including lunch and refreshments.

Call our team on 01622 674733

ROYAL STAR CAFÉ Royal Star Arcade, Maidstone

Tel: 01622 679620


Children’s Lunch Box Only £3.90

Hot Meal or Sandwich Plus crisps or fruit, Yoghurt & a drink

Toastie - £5.95 Panini - £6.20

with salad garnish & a soft drinks, tea or coffee

Breakfast Roll - only £4.50 Sausage, Bacon & Omlette

Come and try our Christmas Specials - Jacket Potato with Turkey and Cranberry - Turkey and Cranberry Sandwiches and Paninis

- Gingerbread Latte with a luxury Mince Pie £4.00 (Available until the end of December)

Join us for a festive Christmas Lunch Monday 17th December from 12 noon £9.95 per person Tickets On Sale Now

Dairy Free Cake & Gluten Free products also available. Maidstone January 2019 5

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