Letters, October 28, 2010, part two

PUBLISHED: 11:37 28 October 2010

SIR - I read of the demise of the 712 Greenline service (Herts Advertiser October 14) with regret but not surprise. I commute to London three times a week sometimes in the peak and also on the later service at 9.55.

I really feel St Albans long suffering commuters have missed a golden opportunity to travel to London in comfort and for less money. What wasn’t mentioned in your article was the introductory price held for sixteen months - £9.50 return (cheaper if you buy a regular ticket) for the early service and for the rest of the day and Saturdays £5.00 return, yes £5.00 for a coach that will take to Brent Cross, Baker St, Oxford St, Marble Arch, Park Lane, and Victoria return!! That’s still cheaper than it costs to park your car at the station!

St Albans commuters wake up, you have missed a real chance to change your commute for good, To not only get to London in comfort, have a seat and arrive at work not feeling you’ve just completed an army assault course has got to be better than the alternative.. OK one bus in the peak and two at the end of the day may not be enough but if people had got behind the service I’m sure they would have added more coaches as they do for Hemel and Stevenage, there always packed. Don’t forget they ran all last winter throughout the bad weather when the trains were in chaos! You only have to look back to last Monday when engineering works overrun on FCC, five tube lines were disrupted including the Jubilee line where commuters had to be evacuated from trains, what a great way to start the working week!

Not only can you travel in comfort but like some commuters you can take your fold up bike or of course you can hire once you get to London. Many regular users south of the city park on the turnings off the Watford Road and pick the bus up at the Three Hammers or opposite Forge End. I would rather do that than leave my car in Griffiths Way for the day and catch the Abbey Flyer which of course means changing trains and possibly a tube journey as well. This is (and soon to be was) a direct service to the heart of London.

For the retired the service has been a fantastic revelation. The service is free with a bus pass. Unfortunately the coaches were at best half full and the afternoon coaches run empty which has led to the decision to axe the service. So it wasn’t a surprise when the announcement came. I just think St Albans commuters and travellers to London have missed out on a first class service. So when your planning your Christmas shopping don’t forget it drops you right outside Primark Oxford St, you can do your shopping, not get it crushed in tube barriers, have lunch, see the lights and have a good day out for £5.00 now that’s a bargain! Sadly I fear it’s too late to save it now, use it or lose it they say, well in January you will!

NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED

SIR - Is there any way we can get Arriva to do an about turn and think again about their decision to cancel the excellent 712 Green Line coach from St. Albans to the centre of London?

What has gone wrong with this service? It most certainly cannot be the price of the ticket because a special offer off-peak price of £5 from St. Albans into London AND return is an absolute bargain? Travelling in an air conditioned coach with a friendly driver and passengers who are quiet and not eating smelly food must be preferable to travelling with First Capital Connect’s expensive train where you are lucky if you can get a seat.

So what else could be done? Adjusting the timetable and route might help. But I believe the main reason is that residents in St. Albans just do not know about this excellent service because those who do know are dismayed at the recent decision, particularly the many people who use the 712 to get to their job in London. As last week’s Editor’s comment stated “Everyone who has used the 712 bus service from St. Albans to London has been full of praise for it so it is a huge shame that it is going to the wall after only a year because of lack of business. It is even more ironic that there are seats available during peak periods when Firs Capital Connect trains are full to overflowing. Perhaps commuters just prefer to suffer.”

Together with Roma Mills I campaigned to get a service from St. Albans to Victoria and like many others feel it would be tragic to see it end.

ANN GRAHAM

Therfield Road, St Albans

SIR - Mention of the 1934 Searchlight and Torchlight Tattoo in the letters pages a few weeks ago sent me rummaging through my old photos. As a boy of 10, I took part, dressed as a toy soldier and vividly recall walking with my mate Fred through Clarence Park. I wonder how many of my contemporaries have similar memories? The same letter also mentioned the 1939 St Albans Scout Gang Show, of which I also have fond memories as a participant - especially of performing alongside a burly chap with a moustache dressed in a tutu! Sadly I do not have a photo of that, but I do of the whole ‘Gang’ who performed at the Culver Hall.

RAY WELCH

Royston Road, St Albans


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