Bus firm does a U-turn over Chiswell Green route
PUBLISHED: 06:31 28 March 2014
Bus company Uno has had a change of heart after switching a route away from a busy surgery and leaving many passengers unable to get to their doctor.
Last September Uno renumbered the 621 bus to the 652 and changed the route so that it no longer stopped by the Midway Surgery in Watford Road, Chiswell Green.
As part of its new route from Bricket Wood to St Albans via How Wood, Park Street and Doggetts Way, it turned right into Tippendell Lane and used the A5183, bypassing Watford Road on its way to the retail park in Griffiths Way, St Albans.
Patients using the bus to get to the Midway Surgery were incensed by the change and warned that it would cause them great difficulty.
Now Uno has announced that following a review of the 652, it will revert to the former routing from Bricket Wood and How Wood to St Albans via Chiswell Green and the King Harry roundabout which would reinstate the link to the Midway Surgery.
Local campaigner Jon Breen launched an e-petition on the county council website which attracted nearly 100 signatures and was bumped up by a further 100-plus after he took a paper copy around the local chemists and doctor’s surgeries.
The petition questioned two of the reasons given by Uno for changing the route – that it would provide a link from How Wood and Bricket Wood to Sainsbury in Griffiths Way and it would mean an improved link from Park Street to St Albans through the Cottonmill area.
Mr Breen pointed out that the 621 had dropped passengers at the bottom of St Stephen Hill which was a short walk to Sainsbury’s so the link to the retail park already existed.
And he maintained that the new route did not fully serve the Cottonmill Estate but passed along the edge. Another bus company now serves the estate.
He maintained that all that had been achieved by the new 652 route was an extra bus passing Park Street station – which was already served by the 655 bus – and bus passengers losing access to the facilities in Chiswell Green, most importantly the doctors’ surgery.
Mr Breen, who drives and is not a bus user, said he was “irritated” by the change because it did not have any consideration for elderly people who wanted to get to Chiswell Green and particularly the surgery.
He said that while he was delighted that the route was now restored to Chiswell Green, he would continue campaigning for it to go to Watford as it had previously so that people could get to the hospital there.
The revised service will be introduced at the end of March and local councillor Steve Bowes-Phipps said: “Engagement with local residents is of paramount importance for critical public service providers if they wish to make changes to the services they provide.
“In this case, cutting the most vulnerable in our society off from local services, such as their GP or the nearest supermarket, has caused unnecessary hardship and I’m glad to see that they have reversed their decision and reinstated the route as it was.”