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Letter: Rumours Of Bus Service Via Wood Street Village Being Axed

Published on: 26 Jan, 2016
Updated on: 26 Jan, 2016

From Les Ames

emails letterI am aware of local rumours as regards the withdrawal of the number 17 bus service from mid-March 2016.

This service operates between Fairlands and Guildford town centre via Wood Street Village.

I understand this is the only bus service operating through Wood Street Village and believe any withdrawal of such a service will be hugely detrimental to the local community.

Roue map of the No.17 bus service - from Arriva's website.

Roue map of the No.17 bus service – from Arriva’s website.

Equally, such a service removal would appear to be directly in opposition to Guildford Borough Council’s published Strategic Plan (2015-2020) ’Infrastructure’ which states, I quote: “Our aims are to ensure that there is appropriate infrastructure for existing communities as they expand and to move to a sustainable transport system with improved public transport and less reliance on the car.”

Arriva logoI can find no confirmation of the rumoured service withdrawal so I write to ask if others can confirm or deny the rumours?

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Responses to Letter: Rumours Of Bus Service Via Wood Street Village Being Axed

  1. Mike Adams Reply

    January 26, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    This appears to be confirmed in an email from Arriva published on the Wood Steet Village Facebook page.

  2. George Potter Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 1:28 am

    It’s worth noting that what Guildford Borough Council says about the issue is irrelevant as buses are the responsibility of the county council (and they subsidise the operation of unprofitable routes by bus companies).

    I’d strongly recommend contacting your county councillor to ask if there’s anything they can do about this.

    In the meantime one option might be to work out how many people in the village use the bus service and whether they’d be willing to club together for an alternative service (e.g. car pooling or a volunteer driven minivan or similar) as I’ve heard of villages in other parts of the country doing that when their bus routes disappeared.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Given the paucity of bus services in the Horsleys, we have a thriving community bus service, which carries (mostly older) residents door-to-door to and from supermarkets etc.

    We also take residents of local care homes on day trips. This is manned and funded entirely by volunteers, and is a lifeline for many of our local residents.

  4. Neville Bryan Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Local area Surrey County Councillor Keith Witham was advised last week [on the bus route issue], and emailed residents.

    The information he provided is that route 17 will cease on 14th March 2016. Wood Street Village therefore will then have no bus service at all.

    Keith also highlighted changes to the number 28 route to cover Fairlands, but that would leave parts of the A322 south of Worplesdon not covered either.

    The reported reason is apparently an £35k annual loss on the part of Arriva for operating this service.

    The route is not funded by government so was not included in the recent Surrey County Council transport consultation.

    Clearly this is distressing for a lot of residents who use the service, for those goign to work,and particularly the elderly who use it ad-hoc to get both to the doctors surgery and shops at Fairlands in one direction and Tescos, the hospital, the town on the other.

    I am trying to find out some history on how this has come about, and what can be done if anything.

    I will leave the experts on infrastructure to reflect on the fact that there will be more cars on the already overloaded roads – how Guildford can find millions for a new cycle path, but not keep basic key bus services running for those who need them most.

    I will post more when I know more.

    Neville Bryan
    Chairman, Wood Street Village Association

  5. George Potter Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Again, I should point out that transport is a county matter.

    Bus services, cycle lanes, etc. are all things which Guildford council has no more authority over than the average resident.

    I agree with many of the points made but they should be laid at the correct door.

    • Neville Bryan Reply

      January 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      In reply to George Potter,

      That is completely understood.

      However, while transport and infrastructure is the responsibility of Surrey County Council, it is Guildford Borough Council who are responsible for the local plan. Infrastructure of course has to fully support that plan, and it is apparent to most impartial observers it cannot support current usage.

      I also note that it appears to be GBC not SCC touting the ideas of green corridor / cycling at huge expense as part of that local plan. I don’t personally object to this idea, but totally fail to see why we are proposing spend so much money on these difficult concepts in our hilly landscape, when we don’t appear to be able to afford basic village bus services.

      Infrastructure objectives are (or should be) closely aligned and this is where I am concerned at the apparent absence of any joined up thinking. Part of the strategy of GBC is to reduce the dependence on the car.

      How can you do that when semi-rural bus services are being removed from those who need them most?

  6. Jim Allen Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    It seems irrational to me that no one has actually ask the question: if public transport was available to you in your road / estate where would you like to go to?

    It’s point in asking the users they are a captive audience.

    We could then assess if the current public transport routes are in the right place for the current population’s needs.

    I for one would ‘expect’ all buses routed to the town centre would stop and wait at the train station – an integrated transport system!

    But wonders of wonder, it is as quick for me to walk from Bowers Lock to the train station than use the bus and cheaper to use the car.

    The same applies to most bus routes – not really fit for purpose.

    I would guess before even studying the situation: the bus was oversize, too many seats, travelling at the wrong time, to the wrong destinations and probably priced on the principle ‘not enough passengers so we will put the fares up to cover the costs’, thus pricing out the remainder of the passengers.

    And then saying no one uses the bus so let’s stop running it.

    Every year we loose another bus service we need to get back to basics.

  7. Brian Holt Reply

    January 27, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The main road A322 through Stoughton is to lose its only bus route (no 28), so it can be diverted to Fairlands estate, then through Holly Lane which is not suitable for buses to Worplesdon.

    Fairlands is flat and there are buses passing the entrance to the estate every 15 minutes, to both Guildford and Aldershot.

    Stoughton has a large number of elderly residents, many live alone around the Shepherds Hill area, and along with Northway it is hilly.

    It is a climb coming through Stoughton Rec from the Aldershot Road, and that is without carrying any shopping.

    Many residents catch the no 28 bus to Sainsbury’s at Brookwood, as it stops outside the store. Now residents at Francis Court, Worplesdon Road will also be without any buses.

    At the moment as Woodbridge Hill is closed to route no 27, 26, buses are being diverted up Worplesdon Road to Stoughton Road, then in to Grange Road.

    So why cannot alternative buses operative the route this way round with every other bus going Manor Road way?

    • Alex Bain Reply

      January 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      In what way is Holly Lane ‘not suitable for buses’?

  8. Brian Holt Reply

    January 28, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    The end of Holly Lane near Merrist Wood entrance is narrow, and the width of large buses with both mirrors is 8Ft 2in, they will not be able to pass lorries with large mirrors.

    I have driven coaches and buses for 32 years, and know the width of the vehicles, it’s a bit different to driving cars.

    Going towards Worplesdon the hedge will stop buses getting to close because of the nearside mirrors, and the vehicle will have scratches all down the side from the hedge.

    • Alex Bain Reply

      January 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      In reply to Brian Holt:

      I have to disagree with what he said. Yes, it’s a tad narrow, but nowhere near narrow enough to prevent its use as a bus service. Lorries use it all the time – one bus per hour is going to make no difference whatsoever.

      There’s far narrower, even single track roads, which buses use on a regular basis locally.

      That’s not to forget negotiating the lines of parked cars on the estates.

      So there’s no way Holly Lane is an issue.

  9. Stephen Jones Reply

    January 31, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Please sign the petition to attempt to save the #17 bus route – the only service to Wood Street Village.

  10. Lis Nevitt Reply

    January 31, 2016 at 11:16 am

    It’s such a shame the council has decided to cut off Wood Street.

    Perhaps Safeguard Coaches could come to the rescue as I beleive Ariva Bus Co to be rubish anyway, and took busses off when it suited them but did not let customers know.

  11. James Cumper Reply

    January 31, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Can I ask then what is happening to all the school children who use the No.17?

    I see a fair few of them getting on from Wood Street.

    Are we leaving kids with no way of getting to a school?

  12. Fiona White Reply

    February 1, 2016 at 7:56 am

    To be fair on Surrey County Council, it was not their decision to cut this service. They were told by Arriva that the service is to be cut.

    There are difficulties for children getting to Guildford Grove School and Kings College.

    Another problem is that it will be difficult for people to get to the Park Barn Centre. I have heard of at least one volunteer at the centre who is going to be affected.

    I am discussing the possibilities of finding a replacement service with officers at Surrey and hope that we can find some way to make sure that Wood Street has a service in future.

  13. Bob McShee Reply

    February 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I, like many others, am concerned about the proposed changes to local bus services, in particular the loss of the route 17.

    I have a suggestion for Arriva to consider re-directing route 17, commence the service from Wood Street Green; continue along Broad Street to Rydes Hill roundabout, along Aldershot Road to the Southway roundabout, where it would turn right. At the Kings College roundabout the bus would re-join the current route into Guildford.

    This would enable passengers of all ages from Wood Street Village to access St Joseph’s and Rydes Hill schools, also shop at the Aldershot Road parade of shops.

    The bus would then take them near to Kings College, Guildford Grove School, then to the hospital, Tesco and the University of Surrey.

    The bus could be terminated there or continue to the bus station.

    By not going to Fairlands, where the bus can be delayed, passengers in Wood Street would enjoy a reliable bus service which should encourage more people to use the bus and not their cars.

    The proposed route should be trialled for six months to ascertain if it is viable. A smaller bus could be used for the trial, especially outside of peak times, as this would be more economical.

    With Guildford Borough Council spending money on cycle routes which will be of no benefit to the elderly, why not provide some financial support to this proposal for the benefit of the residents of Wood Street Village.

    A copy of this letter has been sent to Arriva.

    Bob McShee is a Conservative Guildford Borough Councillor for Worplesdon ward.

  14. Brian Holt Reply

    February 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I wonder whether Alex Bain is a experience driver of large and wider vehicles?

    Yes, he can disagree with me, but he missed my points raised.

    Firstly, he said buses use single track road. I know that, so they will not be passing any other lorries, but my point is passing larger vehicles with big mirrors in narrow roads.

    Buses drive through narrow roads on estates with cars parked both sides. I have done that many times driving both and buses coaches, but there is no speeding lorry coming towards you, and your mirrors are higher then the parked cars.

    He agrees lorries use Holly Lane all the time, that is what I am pointing out.

    In the narrow part, speeding tipper truck drivers never slow down to pass buses and coaches and can break your mirror by hitting it hard with their big mirrors.

    It’s not the width of the vehicles but the width including the mirrors on both vehicles also.

    I have had many broken mirrors this way and do know from many years experience what I am talking about.

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