Bus service from St Albans into London is back under UNO control

The 712 Uno bus to London Victoria

The 712 Uno bus to London Victoria - Credit: Archant

A bus company has stepped in to save a service to London - even though it was behind a previous decision to end a similar route that ran direct from St Albans.

When Uno decided to discontinue the 712 bus route from St Albans to London Victoria in 2013, a number of local passengers opted to travel to the Galleria in Hatfield to catch the 797 service to London run by Arriva.

But Arriva announced late last year that the 797, which operates between Stevenage, Welwyn Hatield and London, would be withdrawn this month..

And by a curious irony, Uno has ridden to the rescue and will take over the route on a weekday only basis from March 2.

St Albans passengers like Pam Parks have been using the 797 service since the 712 was discontinued by travelling to the Galleria in Hatfield to pick it up. She only discovered recently when she was in the St Albans Tourist Information Centre that the existing service was being discontinued.

Pam said she and a friend used it regularly about once a month and there seemed to be no shortage of passengers. “We have seen people turned away just after we got on,” she added.

Arriva took the decision to withdraw the service because of a combination of falling passenger numbers, rising operating costs and the problems with reimbursement for senior citizens travelling for free.

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Regional MD Paul Adock said: “Withdrawing a service of this stature is not something we do lightly.”

Uno announced this week that it would be taking over the 797 service from Monday, March 2, and would run the same weekday timetable and fare structure that was operated by Arriva until the end of the month.

A new service with a revised weekday timetable would be introduced from April 1.

James Thorpe, MD of Uno, said: “We will be trialling the revised timetable from April and monitoring the use of the service over the following year to ensure it is financially viable in the long term. We hope it will prove beneficial to the local community.“

For further information and the latest updates, visit http://www.unobus.info/news.shtml, https://twitter.com/unobus and https://www.facebook.com/unobus.