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»Spiralling fuel costs have forced Arriva buses to axe poorly used services and change a series of routes.

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The company also claimed a “significant reduction” from April 1 in the amount of reimbursement by local authorities for journeys made by passengers travelling with English National Concessionary Travel Free passes has left them struggling.

Services in the Gravesend, Dartford and surrounding area will be altered with effect from May 8.

Spokesperson Richard Lewis said: “We have had to implement changes to most of our services in the Kent Thameside area to offset the effects of high fuel prices and a loss of income through the reduced amount we — like the majority of bus companies throughout the country — are now receiving from local authorities in reimbursement for journeys made for free by concessionary pass holders.

“The reduction in that revenue is substantial and we have had no choice but to make some economies in certain areas. We have, however, kept any reductions in frequency or overall service level to a minimum.”

The section of route of Service 423 between Swanley and Dartford will no longer be provided. A partial replacement will be run by Go Coach who will be extending their Service 421 (Sevenoaks to Swanley) to run through to Joydens Wood and Dartford.

The section of Service 490 route between Bluewater and Fleet Estate will be axed. Fastrack ‘B’ continues to provide a frequent service along Princes Road, close to Fleet Estate, and Service 423 continues to provide a link from the estate to Dartford.

There will be new times for Service 455 between Dartford, Swanscombe, Gravesend and Valley Drive. In Dartford, buses will stop at Home Gardens instead of Hythe Street.

For details of more minor changes call 0844 800 4411

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