Lifeline for residents of Redbourn and Harpenden after bus axed

The front of an Uno bus

The front of an Uno bus - Credit: Archant

Villagers threatened with being stranded after the sudden axing of a bus service between Redbourn and Harpenden have been thrown a lifeline with a new afternoon replacement.

Following Uno Buses’ unexpected decision just before Easter to slash the 657 bus, which runs between Redbourn and Hatfield via Harpenden, Herts county council has revealed plans for a new 5.15pm bus.

County councillor Maxine Crawley said: “I am very cross with Uno because they did this in the middle of a bus consultation.

“When they cut the bus, they cut a lot of people off.

“The county council has had to be very quick to see if they could mitigate this decision at all, but with locally planned money and Section 106 money that has come through as well, there should be a new 5.15pm from Harpenden to Redbourn starting within a couple of weeks.”

She added that new bus timetables to be introduced would ideally feature school buses that ran in the morning, to make clear to the general public that anyone could use them.

Retired William Hewison, 69, of Gertrude Peake Place care home in Redbourn, who was affected by the sudden scrapping of the 657 route, welcomed the news.

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He said: “At least it is going to be a help as I know there is a fair few people complaining about it.

“This will be a great help to all the school kids doing after school activities though I imagine it would be better to have one after 6pm as well as some of the workers that don’t finish until 5.30 or 6pm who will still be stuck.”

A spokeswoman for Uno Buses said: “The 657 route is a commercial route. It is not subsided by the University and it’s not a service that is provided under contract on behalf of Herts county council.

“The withdrawal of certain trips on the 657 route was based on overall passenger ridership and the ongoing viability and sustainability of the route in the long term.”

She added that as the route was not specified by the county council it was not being considered as part of its current bus consultation but would “remain under review in discussion with local residents and users”.