Bus firm, Uno, scrutinised by St Albans District Council’s Local Services Scrutiny Committee over passenger complaints

First published in News St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

The performance of the Uno bus service has been scrutinised.

On Tuesday, January 7, St Albans District Council’s Local Services Scrutiny Committee met with Uno chairman Philip Waters who responded to councillors’ questions and addressed issues raised by bus passengers about the bus service in the District.

In particular, passengers are concerned about the punctuality of the 653 service from Jersey Farm to St Albans City Centre in the early morning.

Concerns that Uno buses have not been leaving St Albans City Station between 6pm and 7.30pm and from 8.30pm onwards, as scheduled were also raised.

Mr Waters explained that Uno has just introduced a new time-table for the 653 service with the aim of improving reliability.

The changes aim to build on the introduction of the 653 service in September last year linking Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield with Jersey Farm and St Albans City Centre.

As a result of the meeting, Mr Waters offered to share performance monitoring data on bus times, breakdowns, staff sickness and attendance levels with councillors.

Changes will also be made by Uno to the timings of the S1 route from Cell Barnes to St Albans City Centre to help improve reliability.

The Committee also suggested that the council works with local bus companies to set up a user group to make communications with passengers easier.

As well as suggesting that the work is carried out through Network St Albans which works to improve and promote sustainable forms of transport.

Councillor Chris White, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, said: "Uno bus services provide important routes with numerous travel opportunities for local residents and people working in St Albans. However, passengers have found that these services are not as reliable as they could be."

Mr Waters, Chairman of Uno, said: "We are very aware of the importance of providing as reliable a service as possible in order to encourage residents to use the bus and alternatives to the private motor car.

"We have worked extremely hard to fashion new timetables for the 653 and S1 routes to make them more reliable. The new timetables, which were introduced at the beginning of the week, appear to be settling in well but the revised service will have to be monitored extremely closely in the coming days and weeks.

"We believe that the 653, which is a combination of the City routes S2 and S3 with the Hatfield to Welwyn Garden City 603 service and provides a whole host of new travel connections, will become a vital part of the transport infrastructure of the centre of the County. We are making every effort to ensure that the service runs properly and meets the needs of residents."


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