Fringe Box



Comment: On the Buses

Published on: 7 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 10 Sep, 2023

Passengers boarding a No. 35 bus at Guildford Bus Station

By Brian Creese

former chair of Guildford Labour

On Monday, residents in Jacobs Well woke to find out their bus service had been transformed – unfortunately, it was for the worst – despite a deeply misleading notice from Stagecoach, describing them as an enhancement.

They have, indeed, improved the service that does not come through the village, but re-numbered it so people didn’t really notice!

Listen to one young passenger’s view of the changes to the services. Recorded at Guildford bus station on Thursday, September 7…

Matt Furniss, the SCC lead for buses has confirmed that the 34/35 services are commercial and therefore the decisions on timetabling are purely for Stagecoach, though SCC did raise concerns.

I have, today, sent Stagecoach the following comment which I hope they will answer soon. I will share any responses with Dragon readers.

I have a number of comments on the new timetables for 34 and 35 buses from the perspective of a Jacobs Well resident.

  1. The total lack of consultation and notice on these changes was disappointing. Re-numbering the routes – essentially the 34 follows the old 35 route and vice versa – also made it difficult to appreciate the negative impact of the changes. Frankly, it felt like an attempt to confuse the public.
  2. While I appreciate the (old) 35 route is faster and more direct for those wishing to travel from Guildford to Woking – and vice versa – the fact is that the (old) 34 route went through Jacobs Well and Sutton Green and served many more residents. Having travelled both routes extensively in the past year the (old) 35 rarely stopped after Woodbridge Road until it reached Woking whereas the 34 was continually picking up and putting down passengers. So decreasing the (old) 34 service will have a direct and negative affect on residents of those villages.
  3. The only Jacobs Well bus stop which will receive a better service is Stringers Avenue. I would be interested to know what your data is, but whenever I have taken the (old) 35 from there I have always been the only passenger, and similar when alighting at that stop. The vast bulk of Jacobs Well residents use the Jacobs Well Road bus stops which are closer to the main housing areas. Clearly that stop is not an option for Sutton Green residents.
  4. The new timetable means that the (old) 34 route does not run after 6pm and not at all on Sundays. Last year I regularly used the 7.40pm bus to Guildford returning from Guildford on the 10.35pm service. On all occasions, I found both buses well used. Taking the (old) 35 bus to Jacobs Well after dark is extremely problematic for many residents. Jacobs Well has no streetlights and walking from, say, the Clay Lane end of Jacobs Well Road is a long, dark and frankly intimidating experience. This move will essentially ensure many elderly or infirm residents are effectively trapped in Jacobs Well after dark.
  5. If you are not familiar with the area I would invite any Stagecoach executive to accompany me on a walk along Jacobs Well Road after dark so they can see for themselves how intimidating this walk can be.
  6. I am, and will continue to be, a big and very public advocate of public transport and buses in particular. I believe that the future for Guildford is in massively improved public transport, so good that, like London, most people are happy to leave their cars at home. It is clear to me that these changes will increase car use from the villages and have a negative impact on carbon emissions and air quality in Guildford.

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Responses to Comment: On the Buses

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    September 7, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    Again a bus company not asking the passengers where they want to go to and come from. I have been saying for years that they should ask the whole population before forcing active travel on the residents.

    As an aside, on the London Road proposals, the soon to be revealed questionnaire, the fifth draft from the SCC, Cllr Furniss’ staff seem more interested in your sexuality than your journey start and end or your actual opinion on any subject!

  2. Keith Francis Reply

    September 8, 2023 at 7:04 am

    I come from Kingfield, Woking, and we use to have the Aldershot & District buses – 29 between Woking and Guildford via Sutton Green and Jacobs Well, 48 Guildford to Chertsey hourly along the A320 and the 34 between Guildford and Camberley also along the A320 and the 34A too which went along the A320 to a different destination beyond Camberley.

    In addition, we had the London Transport 436 Guildford via Burpham and Woking to Staines, the 463 Guildford via Merrow and Woking to Walton-on-Thames, plus the 436A to Ripley where it connected with the 215 red bus to Kingston-upon-Thames.

  3. H Trevor Jones Reply

    September 8, 2023 at 9:59 am

    To go from central Guildford to central Woking surely you’re better off walking to and from their respective railway stations for a fast train with which the bus will never compete (except on rail strike days), whatever route the bus takes.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      September 8, 2023 at 5:46 pm

      And therein lies the problem, not everyone lives in central Guildford and not all want to go to Woking railway station.

      • Amanda Creese Reply

        September 8, 2023 at 8:18 pm

        And many can’t walk the distance. I am an amputee and don’t drive. That’s why I need buses.

        Amanda Creese is a Labour borough councillor for Bellfields & Slyfield

    • Jon Nwabueze Reply

      September 9, 2023 at 11:26 am

      Of course part of the answer here is to re-site the nonsensical Worplesdon station. It is located in the middle of nowhere, only “pretending” to serve Worplesdon proper – which is nowhere near it, and useless to anyone resident in either Jacobs Well or north Guildford (unless driving).

      A station at the Smarts Heath Road bridge, and renamed Mayford, would at least serve south Woking localities. But watch out – there’s that heretical common sense again.

  4. James Maskell Reply

    September 8, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    My sister, who lives in Grangefields, was really moaning to me about these (stupid) changes, she cannot drive as she is in her 70s and wholly dependent on buses.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    September 9, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    As many residents here in Horsley might ask, “What’s a bus?”

    • Keith Francis Reply

      September 11, 2023 at 3:30 pm

      The excellent Falcon 479 bus from Guildford to Epsom via Leatherhead uses the A246 each day of the week and I’m sorry that the “Car is King” from Horsley and am I right a big user of the Merrow Park & Ride.

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