Bus firm Arriva apologises again as Stevenage transport nightmare continues

Queues for the Arriva SB7, SB2 and SB3 route buses at Stevenage bus station about 4.30pm on Monday l

Queues for the Arriva SB7, SB2 and SB3 route buses at Stevenage bus station about 4.30pm on Monday last week. Photo: Dave Lowe - Credit: Archant

Bus operator Arriva has this morning apologised again for the continuing disruption to its Stevenage services – with some 24 buses said to be out of action.

Amid long delays and packed buses for weeks on most routes around the town and beyond, Arriva had pledged to get things shipshape by this week – but passengers have told the Comet there has been no improvement.

The firm has been drafting in engineers from elsewhere to make repairs to the many out-of-service buses, but it says it has been frustrated in this regard by a staff shortage across its Herts operation.

While insisting it is doing all it can to solve the problems, the firm’s management has again apologised this morning.

An Arriva spokesman said: “Unfortunately disruption to our fleet in the Stevenage area is continuing, and we would like to further apologise to customers for any delays and inconvenience caused, while reassuring them we are doing all we can to ease the situation.

“We are continuing to draft in additional staff from other depots where possible to make repairs, but a shortage of engineers across our Hertfordshire operation means we cannot bring as many to Stevenage as we would like.”

Those affected by the disruption include Micheal Faith, from the Old Town, who commutes to and from work in Luton on Arriva’s 100 and 101 buses.

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He told the Comet today: “Every day I’m totally shattered – by a day’s travel, not work.

“After sitting on the bus for an hour during my journey home yesterday the bus stopped for the driver’s 20-minute break in Hitchin, where he got some ice cream.

“He sat and chatted with several passengers and said that even though services have been cut and skipped, they cannot get back to the station early – although they would like to.

“The driver said the previous report of the number of buses out of action is not correct – he said that as of yesterday, when he started work, a total of 24 buses were out of service.

“He then continued his route and stopped in Little Wymondley for another six minutes.

“And this morning was fun – the 6.20am to Luton couldn’t get into gear after stopping for passengers just past Tesco in Stopsley, causing major tailbacks.

“The driver had to shut down the bus for a few minutes and restart. I hope this doesn’t mean we lose yet another bus.”

Fellow passenger Dave Lowe said last week that services had ‘deteriorated to what can only be described as an unacceptable level’, adding: “This service is just not fit for purpose.”

Julie Page, who uses the SB4 and SB5 routes through Broadwater and Shephall every day, said: “To put the prices up and then this – it’s a slap in the face. All I want to do is get to work. Is that too much to ask?”

You can contact Arriva at arrivabus.co.uk/contact-us.

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