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Arriva Announces Closure Of Its Guildford Bus Depot

Published on: 8 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 8 Oct, 2021

Bus operator Arriva is to close its Leas Road depot in Guildford saying it is no longer sustainable.

The firm has said it is in discussion with its Guildford employees and trade unions and is looking to safeguard jobs and re-deploy as many people as possible.

The Arriva bus depot in Leas Road, on the corner with Mary Road, Guildford.

Arriva has announced that its services in the Guildford area have experienced ongoing decline in passenger numbers over recent years, even prior to the effects of Covid.

The Hants & Surrey Bus Blog website is reporting: “Some may say the writing has been on the wall for some time, and indeed even pre-Covid, speculation was regularly being made surrounding the future of Arriva Kent & Surrey’s operations out of their Guildford depot.

“Not just with frequent mentions of residential redevelopment of the riverside located site, but also the way work has been shed / lost in recent years, and local press reports relating to proposed drivers’ pay and contract changes and the subsequent threat of industrial action.”

The website also notes: “One apparent particular blow came in July 2018 when Arriva lost access through the University of Surrey sites to Stagecoach, whose new routes 1/2 essentially replicated former town circulars 26/27. ”

The routes Arriva currently operates in the Guildford area, as listed on the bus blog website, are: A: Guildford to the Royal Surrey County Hospital. C: Guildford to Stoughton (still registered, but suspended since Covid). 3: Guildford to Bellfields (Sundays). 18: Guildford to Onslow Village. 28: Guildford to Knaphill (one journey). 34/134: Guildford to Camberley. 35/135: Guildford to Camberley. 36: Guildford Circular (clockwise). 37: Guildford Circular (anticlockwise). 47: Brookwood to West End. 53: Guildford to Ewhurst. 63/63X: Guildford to Horsham. 91. Woking to Knaphill (Pirbright evenings, Guildford Sundays). 436: Woking to Weybridge. 479: Guildford to Epsom (Monday to Saturday).

The bus blog website also adds: “It is therefore too early to say what the future holds for the routes currently operated by Arriva.”

The Leas Road bus depot was opened by the London General Omnibus Company in 1932. London Country Buses began using it in 1970 through until 1986. That firm was sold off to other smaller bus companies and eventually passed into the hands of Arriva.

Arriva’s origins go back to 1938 in Sunderland with the founding of T. Cowie, a second-hand motorcycle dealership. Today, Arriva is a multinational public transport business. It was taken over in 2010 by Deutsche Bahn, the German state-owned rail and transport company.

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Responses to Arriva Announces Closure Of Its Guildford Bus Depot

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    October 9, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Sorry to see it go but where would they relocate?

    Who actually owns the site? Is there a planning application in the pipeline?

    It is the last opportunity for the councils to locate a new east-west route through this site and Jewson’s Yard in Walnut Tree Close.

    If the sites on this route are not owned by Guildford Borough Council, the process of acquiring them would preferably be through negotiations but if those fail, the recourse is through compulsory purchase order. The councils, I believe, will have a very strong case.

  2. Mark Tickner Reply

    October 9, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Arriva simply does not get it.

    They charge ridiculous prices for an unreliable service, it’s cheaper and easier to drive to the park and rides and get to rown.

    Their bus zones and bulk ticketing options are such bad business. You get a ‘sensible’ price for a Guildford zone ticket that stops for example at Shalford. Then if you want a season ticket for a bus that runs from Shalford / Bramley to Cranleigh, you have to buy a Network ticket.

    Why would my children that travel between Wonersh and Cranleigh want unlimited Arriva ticket that goes LL the way to Staines?

    They offer monthly payments for annual tickets, but with their zones this would cost £1,000 per year for my two children to travel to school by Arriva.

    This is why so many parents drive their children to school from the villages.

    We can only hope Arriva, pack up move out of Guildford and let someone operate with a clue.

  3. Alan Morris Reply

    October 15, 2021 at 9:58 am

    I can’t say I’m surprised that Arriva is in a mess, their current owners, Deutsche Bundesbahn, have been trying to offload them since 2019.
    I think we should be more concerned with the fact that Arriva is withdrawing from the operation of buses in Guildford and finding out how bus operations will be maintained in future.

    Has Abellio Surrey left the area never to return? Will Stagecoach expand its business to routes currently operated by Arriva? Could Safeguard have any desire to further their activities and will operators like Falcon Coaches take a greater presence in Guildford than those they now run? Indeed have any of these companies got the financial resources to provide replacement buses?

    What are the local councils, who provide the subsidies to Arriva, doing to assure the maintenance of routes for the future and what will become of the Mary Road depot?

    We need to know how public transport and its role in the government’s decarbonisation policy is going to be enhanced if Guildford’s bus services are to avoid descending into this parlous state again.

    Personally, I doubt that retaining the current model for bus operations in Guildford and South West Surrey is fit for the future, but I guess that is an issue for another day.

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