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Letter: There Is A New Through Guildford Bus Route – Just Started

Published on: 30 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 30 Dec, 2021

From: Jenny Grove

In response to: Let’s Use Our Wealth of Brainpower to Fix Our Transport Problem

May I remind people that since the demise of Routes 36 and 37, one can go “through the town centre”, from Merrow to the university and hospital for example, on a new route [Stagecoach Route 1] which started just before Christmas, on December 18.

This initiative is to be commended, and hopefully more people will make use of this new service. Unfortunately, further changes are due on January 2 reducing the number of buses per hour on this particular route, presumably because of the greater distance the bus now travels together with a current shortage of drivers.

A survey may throw up some interesting suggestions, but generally speaking, it seems to be a case of “use it or lose it”.

I notice that Spectrum Park & Ride will be suspended from January 2 and Merrow Park & Ride buses will be more infrequent. Not a good start to a new year of saving the planet.

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Responses to Letter: There Is A New Through Guildford Bus Route – Just Started

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 30, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    If the bus station stays where it is, it would mean changing buses at the bus station to go to the railway station (west entrance), hospital or Farnham. Unfortunately, the current thinking is not to relocate it. I would urge the councils to reappraise the advantages of creating a transport hub with the railway station.

    My proposal is for a mini-hub (several stops only to drop off and pick up passengers) close to the existing bus station and to relocate the bus station in Bedford Road surface car park site. It would then be possible to connect the town centre with a kind of transport hub close to the railway station (main entrance) via Walnut Footbridge. I must point out that this arrangement retains all the advantages of the existing bus station.

    It would also be possible to run through buses from Merrow and other directions to the station (west entrance), hospital or Farnham when routed through my proposed east-west crossing. The new crossing would be connected to a new one-way loop – a new road from Woodbridge Road connecting with Mary Road and then Leas Road all made one-way.

    I agree with Julian Lyon when he recently commented here in The Dragon on how running of buses, bus routes and bus fares all need a new approach to make them alternative and affordable transport mode and reduce car usage. Through routes would also reduce the number of bus bays required at the bus station.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 31, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    This number 1 bus route should start at the Park & Ride. This would make sense for people from the east of Guildford trying to get to the hospital without driving too far.

    It is a great pity that the Merrow Park & Ride service is to be reduced. I had to stand around for half an hour, before Christmas, because there was no seating in the waiting room. This is not acceptable; people will just start driving into town again.

  3. Keith Francis Reply

    December 31, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    It all comes down to economics. For example, there is no point in running a bus from the Merrow Park & Ride with only a few passengers.

    Instead of my usual 479 into the centre of Guildford on the May bank holiday, I drove to use the Park and Ride, but on that occasion, due to extremely heavy traffic, the driver was phoning the garage asking for the bus to be replaced with one with a diesel engine due to his bus’ battery running out of charge. It was also a nightmare going back to the Park & Ride and I waited for well over 30 minutes for a bus to come along.

    The same situation now applies to our reduced train services with fewer passengers travelling.

  4. Wayne Smith Reply

    December 31, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Sadly, unlike the single-decker bus in the photo, Stagecoach appears to be predominantly using its most polluting double-deckers on route 1 to Merrow – and from what I’ve seen, the number of passengers can be counted on one hand. Is that saving the planet?

  5. Georgina Grant Reply

    January 3, 2022 at 8:19 am

    I have heard that “driver shortage” is being used as an excuse for the much-reduced service on the routes that Stagecoach have taken over, including the Artington Park and Ride, which has always been popular.

  6. Julian Lyon Reply

    January 3, 2022 at 9:44 am

    I am struck by Jenny Grove’s phrase “use it or lose it” which seems to be about right. The thing I find toughest is the circular argument where the cost is too high so people don’t use it, so they lose it or the service is scaled back.

    We can ask the bus user group(s) what they want, but the answer to modal shift (or whatever we want to call it to make it more palatable or understandable) is to ask non-bus-users what would be required to get them to use the buses. Then we can start to design services that are (a) viable and that (b) start to make a real dent in the traffic.

    We might even start to consider how a safe school bus service could be provided to take the pressure off the river/rail crossings at peak times.

    Bibhas’s east-west crossing, like my preferred solutions, would help us solve capacity problems and/or deflect traffic from the concrete collar over the river in the town centre. We need to be using all of the transportation tools in our armoury in any case.

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