St Albans to London bus route to be axed

A transport link between St Albans and London is to be cancelled in January this year, causing disruption and upheaval for many commuters.

The 712 bus service from St Albans to London Victoria, which currently runs six times a day, will finish in January due to low customer numbers which have failed to pick up as the company had expected when they launched the service over a year ago.

For commuter Kevin Gardem, who lives in Forge End, the news is disappointing and means a return to train travel which doesn’t fill him with joy. He said: “Travelling on the coach is much warmer in every sense. People talk and you always get a seat and there’s also the chance to work without worrying you’ll lose signal.

“It’s also much cheaper than train travel and greener for me to travel in on the coach as I don’t have to drive my car down to the station.”

Mr Gardem, who works as a TV editor in Soho, said that the service, which launched in June 2009, could have benefited from more advertising as very few people knew about it and it was a “wonderful service”.

He added: “It’s not just the professionals travelling into London for work that will lose out, it’s the elderly people who use the service to travel into London. It’s far less threatening than travelling on the train.”

A spokesperson for Arriva, which runs the Green Line service, said: “It is with great disappointment that we have had to take the decision to cancel the 712 Green Line service from St Albans to London. When launched in June 2009 there was a huge amount of excitement and support about a good value coach service to London. Regrettably and despite a huge amount of effort, customer numbers remain extremely low, especially at peak times and we are unable to continue to support the service financially.

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“The service has been marketed continuously through it’s life including radio, outdoor, door drops throughout St Albans, press releases and similar activity at the London end of the route.

“We have looked at all feasible options and at this time we are unable to provide a commuter service, we appreciate that this is disappointing.

“We would like to thank all our regular customers and apologise for any inconvenience this matter causes. We will be in contact with our regular customers over the next few days to see what other options we can offer them. The service will run in its current form until January 2, 2011.”