Bus Stop Blues hit Tring Again!

Bus Stop Blues in Tring April 2019The picture shows the scene in Tring opposite the church at five to nine in the morning in the week before the election.

On 24th April, what should have been the half eight o'clock 500 bus to Aylesbury broke down in Station Road - it was one of the rare 500s that still use the "Cow Lane Loop".

Passengers waiting in Tring weren't to know of course, though there was not much they could do about it by then. Their patience was remarkable, though it might just have been resigned despair.

After a bit the queue was joined by the bus driver himself, who had reported the breakdown and left his bus in Station Road.

A few years ago the 500 ran on a 20 minute timetable and gave a reasonable service to local people. Now, however the service has been cut to 2 an hour - every 30 minutes.

This means that if a bus fails to turn up for any reason, passengers are faced with a service gap of at least an hour. In the picture on the left hand side was a young school student who had been waiting an hour and a quarter - having, I suppose, just missed the 8 o'clock bus.

A bus breakdown at any time is a great inconvenience for passengers but if a service is cut during the morning peak travel time there can be serious consequences. People can be late for work, for school, for appointments, for interviews. There are reports of people losing their jobs or apprenticeships as a result of bus service unreliability, reports of pupils in trouble at school and of infuriated parents reverting to car travel to take their children to school themselves. Breakdowns and other situations leading to service cuts take place all too frequently.

Bus services are essential to many groups of people, and of course have the potential, if delivered reliably, to reduce the use of private motor cars during the rush hours. They are also there for any of us in an emergency, should our own cars be unavailable or if we cannot drive because of some injury or health problem.

Bus services are important public services and our local councils at every level must take a far more pro-active approach in ensuring they are provided accessibly, reliably and conveniently. And if this requires some public money to provide direct or indirect support - then we must face that reality.

Allowing our bus services to continue to fail will lead to increased traffic on our roads, increased delay for motorists, increased air pollution and social isolation for certain groups of vulnerable people.