As has been rumoured, Arriva have announced that they are axing the route 1 service completely after 7 April, including the peak hour commuter service serving Riverhead, Chipstead, Bessels Green and Ryewood.
Go-Coach are introducing 1 additional 401 service in the morning peak, and 3 additional 401 services in the evening peak, to provide some replacement of commuter services to Riverhead, Chipstead, Bessels Green (evenings only) and Ryewood, starting on Monday 8 April.
In the morning a new service starts at Chipstead Square at 0705, and goes via Chipstead Lane and Bullfinch Lane to Ryewood (0710), and then back to Tesco, Riverhead (0713) and then Sevenoaks Railway Station (0715) and Sevenoaks Bus Station (0719). This is in addition to existing 401 services from Westerham serving Chipstead at 0635, 0719 and 0816 and Tesco at 0638, 0722 and 0820.
In the evening there will be 401 services every 30 minutes (rather than hourly) from Sevenoaks Bus Station from 1645 to 1945, and picking up at Sevenoaks Railway Station at xx19/xx49. The 1649, 1719, 1819 and 1919 run to Westerham. The 1749, 1849, 1949 follow the usual 401 route as far as Chipstead Corner, but then turn left to serve Bessels Green, Riverhead Square (again) and Ryewood.
Arriva say that they are axing route 1 “in response to insufficient numbers of people using them”. That’s disappointing, and it’s a pity that they have not run the service for longer to allow the number of users to build up. It’s to be hoped that commuters in north-west Sevenoaks will take advantage of the new service from Go Coach to ensure that it establishes commercial viability (there’s no subsidy). With a 10-journey Sevenoaks area ticket it’s only £1.20 each way, far cheaper than railway station parking. Use it or lose it!