Fight to save 712 bus link unites passengers

THE CAMPAIGN to save the 712 Green Line service has gained momentum this week with passengers joining forces to form an action group to try to save the bus service.

The ‘Save the 712’ campaign has launched its own Facebook group and started its own mailing list to share ideas and gauge the level of support within the area. It is also hoped that via the mailing list, passengers can work together to promote the service and persuade Arriva to give the 712 six more months before it makes its final decision.

The move comes despite Arriva’s statement in last week’s Herts Advertiser that the service would be cancelled regardless of the interest people had shown because it was failing to cover even 50 per cent of its running costs.

Matthew Jackson-Hale, who is behind the mailing list and Facebook group, said the news had not dampened spirits but made people even more determined to be heard.

He said: “I’m even more focused now to make something happen and get people behind it because this service really does help a lot of people and saves them a great deal of money.

“We need to show Arriva and any other interested bus companies that there’s demand for such a service into London and it’s already working: some bus companies are starting to show an interest in picking up where Arriva plan to stop. But, we’ll also work to persuade Arriva that they could have the 757 or the 758 coaches come through St Albans and pick up passengers there.”

Matthew commutes daily into Westminster and the 712 is significantly cheaper than when he used to drive in and pay for an annual Westminster parking ticket at a cost of �3,600.

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When this was added to the cost of petrol and general car maintenance, Matthew was spending around �6,000 a year. Travelling into work on the 712 costs him �1,350 annually.

When Matthew first contacted the Herts Advertiser he expressed his concern that the service was being pulled prematurely, claiming it was the victim of a weak marketing campaign and that many train users were unaware of its existence.

He has since designed leaflets to promote the service with particular emphasis on the savings that commuters can make and members of the action group are distributing them throughout the city.

The group will use the mailing list as a central point of communication and it is hoped they will share ideas about how to proceed with their campaign and share flyers and posters which will encourage people to investigate the service. The Potters Bar and St Albans Transport User Group have also added their support to the ‘Save the 712’ campaign and produced a poster which will be displayed at local stations in the run up to the change in service.

The ‘Save the 712’ campaign is encouraging anybody with an interest in the issue to join the group by emailing or join the Facebook group by searching in groups for the ‘Save the 712 Supporters Group’.