Plans to scrap ‘godsend’ bus service from Hemel Hempstead to London Victoria met with anger

Plans to scrap a ‘goodsend’ bus service to London have been met with anger – and commuters say the move will double travel costs.

On Monday, Arriva announced that it intends to suspend operations of the Green Line services between Hemel Hempstead and London Victoria next month.

The company said that before the Covid-19 pandemic, passenger numbers were already declining, leading to operations being run out of Arriva’s Luton depot.

The image is used for illustrative purposes

While this helped ensure that all 758 services operated according to the announced schedule, it says the passenger numbers remained low.

And Arriva says that despite this, it remained committed to providing services throughout the pandemic and maintaining a minimum level of service to enable key employees to travel to and from London and Hemel Hempstead.

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Arriva will remove the Green Line services between Hemel Hempstead and London Victoria

One person said, “This service is SO MUCH better than the train, it’s unreal. Guaranteed a space. Was almost door to door from home to work for me. No more changes. Hot in most weather and times. Now I’ll need a taxi to the train station, a train, a metro, an underground shift. “

Another added: “This is so bad news, this service was a gift from God to us traveling to London.”

John Shulver, from Grovehill, uses the service to commute to work in South Kensington, London from Hemel Hempstead.

He said: “When we moved to Hemel Hempstead back in 2006, we chose our current house based on the green line.

“It’s always been convenient, the bus stop is an easy walk and once I’m in London I can walk into my workplace. This must definitely go some way to making the UK a greener place.

“My commute, when the service is withdrawn, will be bus, train and metro, not as green as the bus and about double the cost and an awful lot more hassle.

“The company could have done more to advertise this service, especially the fact that it is half the cost of train commuting and is so much easier.

“They also appear to have scheduled buses in a way that currently appears to deter leisure travelers.

“I’m aware that lockdown made things difficult, but things are getting better. The 16.10 service from London has become busier over the last few months, but the next 758 is much later. A coach around 5.30pm who catching several possible commuters would be very helpful.

Also, why can’t the company redirect a couple of the London Luton 757s via Redbourn and on through Mayland with a feeder service from the city center (and other parts of Hemel)? This would only add a few minutes to the services involved and would retain this useful bus service.

“Barely three weeks’ notice is also a bit of a bad treatment for the loyal customers who have used this service, in some cases for decades!”

Clair Evans, who uses the service to travel to London for several days and to travel on to Liverpool and Dorset, said: “We live in Woodhall Farm and the bus stops here and we go to London, it’s a great day out .

“In the summer we just get on the bus and go to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and we have a picnic in the park, it’s a god send when the weather is warmer and there’s so much to do.

“I am disabled and do not drive, so for me getting a bus straight there is so much easier than getting two buses, just to get to the train station.

“It’s a great day out and a really good service.

“When we used it, it was always busy, people would also go to Lord’s to watch cricket.

“Even if they only did one morning and evening service, it would be beneficial for many people.

“My mother lives in Dorset and my best friend lives in Liverpool and I would use that service to go to London to get the coach to Liverpool or Dorset, it was a really convenient and easy service.

“I think a lot of people will be frustrated and disappointed by the news.”

Last day of worship is Saturday, December 4th.

Linsey Frostick, General Manager of Luton Depot, said: “I recently asked for feedback on the service in order to try to get things improved, unfortunately in recent weeks we have not seen an increase in passenger numbers and in the current levels the service is not sustainable.

“We would like to thank all our loyal and long-standing customers for their practice over the years and would like to convey that it is an extremely difficult decision for us to have made.

“We will continue to operate the 758 service, traveling to and from London until December 4, 2021.”

A spokesman for Arriva Southern Counties said: “We appreciate and thank the loyal customers who have continued to use the service during the Covid 19 pandemic, we carefully consider any service we withdraw and appreciate the impact this could have on our passengers.

“Passenger recovery on the service has been extremely poor and only 26 percent of passengers use the service compared to before covid, this trend is worryingly stagnant with no significant increase in a number of weeks, which is probably partly due to the fact that work patterns have changed for a number of previous passengers where they either work from home and or commute 2-3 days a week.

“The significant loss of passengers, changes in financing and stagnant growth means that the service is not able to generate enough revenue to cover operating costs and therefore is currently incurring significant losses.”

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