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Tunbridge Wells Public Transport Forum – March 2024

The forum continued with the online format for this meeting and twenty attendees were present. Speakers as usual were from Network Rail, South Eastern, Kent County Council, and our local bus operators. Highlights as follows.

Network Rail updates

  • Gatwick service – Tonbridge to Gatwick is the preferred option with an hourly service. No start date advised.

  • High Brooms accessibility project – planned for the next Control Period 7 commencing April 2024. Design incorporating two lift shafts and a new footbridge has been completed but we are still awaiting DfT sign off on funding. Approval or otherwise for this project should be known very soon.

  • Hastings line – further track works, signalling and earth works planned over the next five years to improve the resilience of the line.


South Eastern

  • Flexi ticket trial will be extended /digital season tickets now being rolled out.

  • Commute to work level fairly static against pre-pandemic level and remains heavily focused on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. isure travel has remained solid with both Saturday and Sunday very strong.

  • Automatic ticket machines (ATMs’) will be upgraded to support more ticketing options

  • June this year – some timetable work planned to space out services more evenly from TW.

  • Customer satisfaction levels improved to 87 percent.

  • Thursday 15th February was the busiest single day since 2019 in terms of London bound travel.

Our questions


  • The Association is keen to see the phased return of TW starters/ finishes on Saturday to reflect the increase demand for off peak travel.

  • The Association stressed the need to monitor passenger numbers on our line as some morning peak trains are very busy and some employers are now mandating staff to be in their offices for at least part of the week.

Kent County Council / buses

  • Arriva – advised that passenger numbers on local routes are now around 78 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

  • Concerns raised about short notice road works and their impact on bus services which impacts all operators.

  • Industry keen to see what happens when the two pound max fare scheme finishes in October.

Committee Members Needed

The Association's committee no longer has a member who travels regularly to London. If you would be interested in joining the committee, whether or not you commute, we would be interested in hearing from you at ! Even if you can spare as little as an hour a month, you still could make a valuable contribution.

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