A doctor at Stevenage's Lister Hospital has urged bus operator Arriva to reconsider a change to 301 service, which means it no longer runs to the site in off-peak hours.

Maneesha Purandare has been using the 301 bus for decade, but she has been dismayed at changes made to the service in November 2023.

Starting at Hemel Hempstead, the service called at stops in St Albans, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Knebworth, before ending at Lister Hospital, but the alteration by Arriva means it now terminates at Stevenage Bus Station between 8am and 3pm from Monday to Saturday.

Dr Purandare has urged the operator to reconsider the changes, telling this newspaper that the decision has "significantly impacted both patients and employees".

"Arriva's decision has significantly impacted accessibility to the hospital for both patients and employees alike," she said.

"The discontinuation of direct service to the Lister Hospital has created hardships for elderly patients and staff members commuting from Hatfield and neighbouring areas.

"While Arriva has introduced additional buses between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage Bus Station, the reduction in buses directly serving the hospital has resulted in extended commute times, often exceeding an additional half an hour.

"While Arriva may argue that there are connecting buses available from Stevenage, it does not adequately compensate for the convenience and efficiency of the previous direct route.

"Given the importance of maintaining reliable transportation for patients and hospital employees, especially during peak hours, I urge Arriva to reconsider their decision and either restore the 301 bus service to its original route or provide direct service during busy morning and evening periods."

Responding to Dr Purandare, a spokesperson for Arriva South said: "The changes to the 301 happened in November 2023. 

"This meant that on Monday to Saturday between 8am and 3pm buses would no longer serve Lister Hospital but instead terminate at the bus station.

"The 301 service continues to serve Lister Hospital in peak hours, evenings and Sundays.

"Also, the new route 725 provides a service between Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn, Knebworth and Stevenage to the Lister Hospital hourly which would cater for most customers needing that facility.

"Additionally, there are currently eight buses per hour between Stevenage and the Lister Hospital on services 55,80,100,101,725 & 907 enabling easy connection if one is required."