Ashford’s new ‘little & often’ bus fleet got off to a Champagne start on Saturday. Actress Rita Simons, best known for her role as Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders, launched the new service by smashing a bottle of bubbly over one of the new minibuses.
Her appearance drew in crowds to Ashford’s Designer Outlet where the party was hosted by Heart Breakfast radio presenter James Heming. Cabaret dance troupe ‘The Show’ performed a series of modern Charleston dances and there were giveaways and competition prizes.
Over 300 cupcakes and 1,000 goodie bags were given away on the day. Several lucky competition winners were picked by James with the first winner announced by Rita. The following have each won a week’s free travel in Ashford; Susan Phillips, Lexie - Mai Anderson, Eleanor Crook, Michael Baker, Brian East, Angela Brown, Isaac Rai and Martin Padgham.
Speaking at the launch Ashford MP Damian Green said “I warmly welcome this imaginative scheme. Buses are too often forgotten as one of the best ways to provide public transport, and this should increase bus usage around Ashford. I hope these new routes catch on quickly.”
The new turn-up-and-go service began operating on Sunday with buses every five to six minutes on routes B and C, connecting the town centre/rail station with Kennington, Park Farm and the William Harvey Hospital.
High-tech ticket machines also allow customers to pay using contactless credit or debit cards – the first to do so in the south east region.