Surrey County Council wants our help but has done little to advertise it.
The county council says it wants to ensure that our Future Bus Network is ready to meet new levels of passenger demand and is financially sustainable.
In other words, although bus operators are making more money, the county council cannot afford a decent service in the county.
Question 1 has an easy answer – get the bus to arrive as per the timetable – at the right place and time. Perhaps highways could warn the bus operators of expected delays due to highway works or road problems – like the recent floods on roads all over the county?
From what we can see, the changes proposed will downgrade the service and leave some rural areas of Waverley bus-free zones for most of the day.
How about this one that will go down like a led balloon for the good people of Farnham and Guildford – and all those stops on the way? What happens on Sunday? Shanks’s pony?
Guildford Farnham Alton reduced to one every two hours!!!!! The 42 reduced just as the housing estates will increase the possibility of customersThe 46 is not included. Thank goodness. But any cut to that would effectively cut the students off wherever there is no rail station. And if only one bus is every two hours, the 46 becomes absolutely essential.
And these proposed changes to rural bus services.
The council says: The bus industry faces challenging operating conditions resulting from changing travel patterns and passenger numbers not returning to pre-pandemic levels. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 27 million passenger trips were made yearly on Surrey buses. The figure is now 18 million passenger trips. This, coupled with the impact of rising fuel and maintenance costs and increased competition for drivers, means that bus operators need to consider what services they operate as the money Surrey County Council spends on supporting bus services cannot buy the same as it used to.
It needs our help to shape what that Future Bus Network will look like by us giving our views on our proposals for:
- Bus route and supporting infrastructure investment,
- Maintaining or changing bus services where relevant to increase patronage or better reflect existing patronage, and
- Expanding the number of Digital Demand Responsive Transport (DDRT) services for a more flexible transport offer to residents.
To help shape the Future Bus Network, the council is running a public consultation from Thursday, 3 November 2022, to Friday, 6 January 2023.
It says it wants to invest in areas of Surrey that offer the best opportunity to grow bus patronage. Therefore, the locations where we are proposing for investment to be prioritised are:
- The east of Surrey, focusing on Reigate, Redhill, and access to Gatwick Airport
- Guildford and Woking, including the surrounding areas where routes start or terminate at the town centres
- The Blackwater Valley, including access to Frimley Park Hospital
- Links to Heathrow Airport and Kingston Upon Thames in London, as well as Sunbury, West Byfleet, Weybridge and Chertsey
What is Digital Demand Responsive Transport (DDRT)?
Rather than being restricted by traditional bus timetables, accessible electric minibuses are available for travel when needed. To register and book to travel, you only need an email address or phone number; the minibus is available to book online or via a smartphone app (to support all users, a telephone booking service is also available). Bookings can be made up to seven days in advance or on the same day, with a minimum of 30 minutes’ notice required.