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Letter: Local Bus Services Can Help Avoid High Hospital Car Park Charges

Published on: 28 Dec, 2018
Updated on: 29 Dec, 2018

A No 5 Safeguard bus

From Bernard Parke
hon alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

It is rather sad to learn from the national media that parking charges at the Royal Surrey County Hospital are the highest in the UK.

I wonder how many of those of us who have to attend as patients or visitors realise that there is a very efficient bus service which is easier to use than hunting for a space in the hospital car park and paying £4 for just one hour?

Safeguard buses introduced a service tailor-made for those attending our hospital. The service runs from the station direct to the main hospital entrance up to every 10 minutes on weekdays, every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 20 minutes on Sundays .

The current fare is £1.20 or £2 return NHS staff can enjoy just a hassle-free experience for just £1. 

Week travel can cost a very competitive £7 and £25 for four weeks of travel.

This shows the value of a company that has given the public more than 90 years of sterling service. May we be able to support our local bus company in these difficult times.

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Responses to Letter: Local Bus Services Can Help Avoid High Hospital Car Park Charges

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 29, 2018 at 12:55 am

    First get to the station! a 20-minute drive or and hour and a half on the bus.

  2. Pearl Catlin Reply

    December 29, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    It is even worse for those who, like me, do not even have a bus coming anywhere near.

    I would need to walk (very difficult for those over 80) to catch a bus down a long lane – uphill coming back!

    It used to be kind of Surrey to give blue badge holders free parking, but that has been discontinued.

    I phoned for a couple of quotes from taxi companies. £13-plus each way.

    Old age is not for sissies to quote the late great Bette Davis.

  3. Martin Elliott Reply

    December 31, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I quite agree with Bernard Parke that one should support the local bus services.

    In return, however, the services should be reliable, convenient and as he implies affordable.

    If you look at the Surrey County Council map of Guildford bus services, there are a large number of routes that pass the hospital and even up to Manor Park.

    Unfortunately, the map is out of date (September 2018) and at least three routes are not shown, though their timetables are available. Will an update show routes removed due to the current bus wars as is bound to happen in the new year?

    Does he refer to a bus route passing the back of the station, there are several because none are listed at the front?

    Another problem of the integrated travel network; buses run from the Friary bus station, not the railway station.

    A lot of the routes circle through the estates and University of Surrey of the north-west of Guildford. Not much help for the areas north or east Guildford.

    Some of these routes only circle one way, though the driver will happily sell a return ticket to the hospital, even if the bus seems to not return from the hospital by the destination board.

    Fortunately, the integrated transport service can offer a continuous service from Burpham / Merrow (36/37) through Guildford centre to the hospital according to Surrey County Council.

    However, if you check the timetable first, it stops at the bus station. Easy to get another bus to the hospital, even if you are a bit ‘under the weather’! Two return bus fares could be getting up to a car park charge.

    I notice Bernard doesn’t mention another annoyance of all hospital services. Due to area congestion at peak periods, they don’t even try to get to the hospital entrance (or Manor Park). They just shortcut at Tesco.

    If it’s a short appointment rather than an op or radio/chemotherapy, and your are fit, just park in Tesco.

  4. Colin Checkley Reply

    January 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Well done Safeguard.

    But it is not the hospital that charges these absurd prices for parking? It is the company that has the contract to run it.

    Needless to say that they will keep on putting the price up, although they only have to pay a few staff to oversee it.

    Why doesn’t the hospital take away their contract and take on a couple of people to run it for the NHS?

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