Harpenden bus service row continues

PUBLISHED: 13:10 17 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

MORE complaints are flooding in from exasperated bus passengers who have been left stranded by changes to a UniversityBus (UNO) service. The problems began last month when the 320 UNO service, which ran from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead, was withdrawn

MORE complaints are flooding in from exasperated bus passengers who have been left stranded by changes to a UniversityBus (UNO) service.

The problems began last month when the 320 UNO service, which ran from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead, was withdrawn and replaced by the 620 which runs between Hatfield and Redbourn.

But despite still running every hour, slight changes to the timetable and the fact that the 620 only continues to Hemel Hempstead during peak times has caused a multitude of problems for the district's bus travellers.

The Friends of the Nickey Line, a group which encourages people to use the old railway line - now a walk and cycle path - from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead, said were dismayed to learn of the axed 320 service.

Chairman of the group Dave Abernethy said there has been a transport link between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead since the building of the railway line in the 1860s.

He fumed: "The 320 bus maintained this daytime link, running close to the Nickey Line throughout its route. In fact, The Friends have often publicised the bus service and the way it can be incorporated into interesting walking routes."

Several of The Friends events were timed to start with the arrival of the 320 bus and Dave said because the 620 only runs two buses all the way to Hemel in the morning and two in the evening many of their family days out will now be ruined.

"The withdrawal of the 320 service is very unwelcome and, because the Nickey Line no longer has a corresponding bus service, people won't be able to access the path from many different locations as they used to be able to," he added.

UNO bus services general manager Michael Finn said a parallel service, the 46, run by Arriva and CentreBus, is currently providing an hourly service to Hemel Hempstead.

He also confirmed that three of the district's bus services - UNO, CentreBus and Arriva - are currently working with the passenger transport unit at Herts County Council to try and improve the district's bus services.

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