The alterations made by Arriva to bus services in Southern Hertfordshire are now complete, and they’ve had a varied reaction from residents across Garston.
The main change that affects the area is the removal of the 320 service from Hemel to Rickmansworth and the 520 service from Watford to Maple Cross, now replaced by a new 321 route, which covers both routes and runs every 20 minutes.
Other alterations include the 8 service now running only between Watford and Northwood’s Mount Vernon hospital, an extension on the 10 service up to Abbots Langley and the addition of the new 20 service to serve Holywell and Woodside.
Some residents have reacted positively to the changes. Ged Hanscombe said: “My son used to get the 320 to college in Hemel from Horseshoe Lane. The service was unreliable and often cancelled at a moment’s notice.
“Since the change he now gets the bus from Haines Way. He’s less stressed and, so far so good.”
Others have a less positive view. Jacquelyn Susanne Marr said: “The 20 bus is a joke. My husband works in Hemel doing 12-hour shifts. He finishes work at 7pm and often has to wait until 8.35pm to catch the bus because they just don’t turn up.
“Now to get to work he has to catch a bus from Garston to Watford Junction to pick up the bus to get to Hemel. He now has to spend 30 mins going to wrong direction to get the 20 to go to Hemel. Absolute joke.”
Others have more criticism for the way Arriva has rolled out the new routes and alterations. One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “What I don’t understand is that these changes have been on the cards for a while, and we were all advised that they would be implemented from 17th April.
“So why can’t they get the timetables up and running at the bus stops? If they knew the new routes planned, why the delay in timetables? Shoddy.”
A petition against the changes has received over 700 signatures, but when contacted for comment concerning it, bus company Arriva had a few corrections to make concerning the information provided on the page.
A spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, some of the content of this petition is incorrect.
“Abbotts Langley still receive a half hourly service, there has been no replacement of new vehicles with older ones and our fleet average age has significantly improved.
“For the majority of our passengers in Watford, service levels have not changed, and we have increased weekend service levels. “
To sign the petition, visit this web link.