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Letter: Bus Services Must Be Reliable

Published on: 27 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 27 Jun, 2022

From: Fumiko Ishiguro

I live in Stoughton and use the no 2 Stoughton to Guildford Stagecoach bus. It used to run every 15 minutes, but turned into a half-hourly service about six months ago.

Over recent months it has become very unreliable, passengers are left uncertain whether any particular bus will turn up. We have to wait hours when without warning, they don’t arrive and that seems it happens almost daily.

A few days ago I asked a driver about the problem and although they don’t usually reply, he said they were 34 drivers short. Surely, this is a crisis. The gaps in service started over a year ago and it was said they were short of drivers then, I thought maybe because of Covid.

It did get better but is now unbelievably bad. I have had to wait over an hour a few times and have started to carry a book to read while waiting. I heard someone waited for two hours.

Those travelling to appointments have to start earlier than necessary to try and ensure they can be kept. One lady told me said she arrived at the dentist so early so had to go shopping to fill the time.

The bus service I mention is a circular route. The no 1 Stagecoach service goes from Friary bus station to the university, hospital, Tesco, and Stoughton. It turns into the no 2 service to return.

One driver said the problem in recruiting drivers is that they can earn more driving lorries but I wonder if there is another reason. The service seemed to deteriorate since the demise of Arriva which operated the no 1 and 2 routes for many years. For a while, after Stagecoach appeared, they both run on the same route following each other, but Arriva ceased operation.

Another bus service to Spectrum was cut altogether about a year or two ago because, it was reported, the council would not subsidise it.  Now people without cars cannot get there. It’s a lively major community leisure centre and no buses go to it. A friend who lives nearby has to walk through the park to get into town and someone else walks from Stoughton.

I don’t know if other routes are in the same predicament. I did hear someone complaining about the service, I think, that goes towards the cathedral.

The key thing is that services need to be reliable, even if they are only hourly. At the moment it is completely unpredictable the system is breaking down and is not fair on residents.

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Bus Services Must Be Reliable

  1. Helen Avery Reply

    June 27, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    Waited over an hour at Woking for a bus back to Guildford, all buses cancelled.

    Last week, an hour wait for a bus to Godalming, and today, a 45-minute wait for a bus to Godalming. I was atold there were no drivers. They had gone to drive lorries. But haulage companies say their drivers have left to drive buses!

    Maybe, SCC needs to review their contract with Stagecoach?

  2. Brian Creese Reply

    June 27, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    I agree entirely with Fumiko Ishiguro. It feels as if neither Guildford Borough or Surrey County Council understand the importance of running a reliable bus service.

    These are essential services for local residents, they are also one of the few ways we have of reducing car flow into Guildford. And it is scandalous that those residents who do not have a car cannot use our premier leisure facility at the Spectrum.

    It is time the council(s) woke up to the seriousness of the current dreadful quality of bus services in and around Guildford.

    Brian Creese is chair of the Guildford Labour Party

  3. Brian Holt Reply

    June 27, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    This is not just a Guildford problem, but also all over the country. Over the years there have been ten bus garages that have closed down in Surrey alone. Why? Because they cannot get drivers. Even though Stagecoach buses are short of drivers they still have to give drivers their rest days and holidays.

  4. M Durant Reply

    June 28, 2022 at 10:58 pm

    Some areas had bus services cut back even before the pandemic. Wood Street Village now has only a few buses each day and its bus service at the weekend is virtually non-existent. If you don’t have a car or a motorbike around there you are stuck.

    I have taken buses to and from Godalming with no issues.

    But the service from Madrid Road is slow at weekends while the service going towards Merrow, down the Epsom Road is slow both during the week and at weekends.

    There is no bus going to Newlands Corner, so if you don’t drive or are fit enough to walk you won’t be able to get there.

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