Bus operator to hold meetings with angry St Albans passengers

PUBLISHED: 10:46 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

AGGRIEVED St Albans passengers have rallied together in their bid to improve an unreliable bus service. Complaints about the UniversityBus (Uno) S1 service, which runs from Jersey Farm to the Mile House, have increased since the Herts Advertiser highligh

AGGRIEVED St Albans passengers have rallied together in their bid to improve an unreliable bus service.

Complaints about the UniversityBus (Uno) S1 service, which runs from Jersey Farm to the Mile House, have increased since the Herts Advertiser highlighted the problems last week.

Jamie Brown, a Newgate Close resident, had reported that his two daughters were often late for school because of the poor bus service. But in response to the allegation, Uno general manager Michael Finn maintained that the buses were only late on the rare occasion.

After reading the story, Victoria Whitely, who also lives in Newgate Close, said that her problems with the S1 service matched those of Mr Brown.

Said Mrs Whitely, who catches the S1 bus to St Albans City Station every day during the week: "Since Uno took the route over almost a year ago, it's gone completely haywire. I'm late to work at least once a week and during one particularly horrendous week, I was late four mornings out of five."

Mrs Whitely, aged 41, had to wait at the bus stop for an hour a couple of Saturdays ago and, despite writing to Mr Finn, she has not yet received an explanation as to why.

Said Mrs Whitely, who works as a secretary in London: "I've been complaining to Mr Finn about the S1 service since last summer and I'm fed-up with being fobbed off with stories about traffic, roadworks and drivers not showing up for work."

Vivien Banagan, aged 54, is another Newgate Close resident and she has to catch two Uno buses to get to and from her job at Sainsbury's in St Albans. Last Friday it took her just over two hours to get home after three scheduled buses failed to show.

Her husband Fred said that the family have reached the end of their tether: "The service is absolutely terrible. My wife wastes so much time waiting for the S1 and so does my 76-year-old mother, who sometimes takes an hour-and-a-half to get to us from her Oysterfields home. It's not on and something needs to be done about it."

Mr Finn said that as a result of the complaints, Uno stepped up the level of on-bus checking on the Jersey Farm service last week and added: "We focused on the Jersey Farm service because that is where most of the complaints highlighted in The Herts Advertiser originated from but all our services will be coming under scrutiny over the next couple of weeks".

He added: "In view of the much-improved staff situation, it is planned to hold a couple of bus 'surgeries' in St Albans to enable passengers to meet the Uno managers and highlight any ongoing issues in the next few weeks.

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