Petition calling for better Stevenage bus service amasses 1,200 signatures

BUGS chairman Michael Downing hands Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland the petition signed by more than

BUGS chairman Michael Downing hands Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland the petition signed by more than 1,200 people. - Credit: Archant

More than 1,200 people fed up with an increasing number of bus cancellations, lack of punctuality and frequent breakdowns have signed a petition calling for improvements to the service in Stevenage.

Members of the Bus Users’ Group Stevenage handed their petition to the town’s MP, Stephen McPartland, asking him to work with the community group to secure improvements – claiming Arriva is the most problematic bus company.

BUGS chairman Michael Downing said: “Stevenage people are fed up and angry about the state of the bus service. That’s why so many have been eager to sign our petition.”

BUGS says it has had an overwhelming response from people living in Stevenage, and from visitors, in support of the community group’s action.

Mr McPartland said: “Arriva has had some issues, and recruitment of drivers has been a big part of that.

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“I understand plans for a new depot in Stevenage have been blocked by Stevenage Borough Council, which is unfortunate. This would have helped driver recruitment and retention through improved staff and vehicle facilities.

“I have been working with residents on individual issues, with punctuality and service reliability a key concern.

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“Arriva has listened to us and is making improvements.”

A spokesman for Arriva said: “We recognise there have been issues within the Stevenage area that have impacted some of our services and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. As a company we know our buses are a lifeline to many people in the community and we take this responsibility very seriously.

“We are taking steps to resolve the issues identified and a plan has been put in place which has already resulted in some improvements across the network.

“To help further improve our services, we would be happy to meet with MPs to discuss these current plans and any further ideas to ensure we are offering our customers the best possible service.”

BUGS is intending to hold a public meeting in the near future, to which it will be inviting parliamentary candidates from the four main political parties to answer questions.

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