Route improvements to the 500 bus timetable

Windsor Rackham, coordinator of LIVE, has informed me that from September 2nd, 2109 the 500 bus timetable has route improvements. Windsor says,

The major change for Lightwater Road residents is that each service will now only travel once along this road. The stop for the Village and the Camberley direction will be on the Colville Gardens side of the road, while the stop for Windlesham and Sunningdale will be from the bus shelter side. Please note the timetable changes carefully as one or two services may be slightly earlier than you expect.

The change is a result of discussions with the Windlesham Parish Council, Surrey County Council, and LIVE. Your local Councillors are currently discussing with us the future of public transport in this area and all views are open for discussion. If you have any points you would like to raise, please talk to your Councillors or pop-in to LIVE on a Saturday morning in the Library Meeting Room. Timetables are available from the Library, Post Office, village shops, and LIVE on Saturday mornings.

New bus service in Lightwater from 3rd September

We all know that we have Parish, Borough, and County Councillors to whom residents can address areas of concern. There are other individual in our communities who take a keen, and campaigning interest in local issues.

One such person is Windsor Rackham, the founder and coordinator of the Live Information Centre in Lightwater. The centre helps to resolve residents questions about such as, health matters, caring, volunteering, and local services. The centre aims to either get answers, or put you in touch with somebody who has them.

One of the ongoing issues the Windsor and many others have been campaigning for are route and timetable changes to local bus services. Windsor has informed me of changes to the 500 bus route.

Great news for people living along the Lightwater Road estates and the Briars in Lightwater. From Monday 3rd September the 500 bus service from Staines to Frimley Park Hospital will be making 4 diversions per day in each direction through Lightwater to serve the residents of the lower and outer parts of the Village.

It is not a perfect route yet and we hope to get it further diverted along Ambleside and All Saints Road before too long. Any concerns or comments please come into the LIVE office in Lightwater on Saturday mornings and talk it over with us between 10 am and 12 noon. The centre is based in Fredericks House Foyer, between Carsons and Simon Pestell, 39 Guildford Road, Lightwater.

In the September edition of the Roundabout, the village and parish magazine, Windsor wrote about the changes to the  500 bus route changes, in which he said the “buses will be provided by White Buses of Windsor, which are modern and environmentally-friendly.” Windsor continued writing that the bus route is a strange one, with half of its route along Red Road, such that more work is needed to get to the preferred route for residents.

Here’s the bus timetable – click on images to expand.

The 34 and 35 bus routes from Camberley to Guildford thru Lightwater

Having the 34 and 35 bus routes pass through Lightwater is a huge convenience. Though bus travel is a rarity for me, I’ve found the 34 and 35’s connection between Lightwater and Woking Station handy on occasions. The changes to the bus routes in Surrey seem not to have made much difference in Lightwater – only slight changes.

Thought you might like the map of the routes of the 34 and 35 buses. Their timetable is HERE.

Resident offers last rites to a bus stop

Here’s me thinking that Lightwater would come out well in review of bus routes by Surrey County Council. Appears not, as there’s a significant change to route 35, which will no longer include Briar Avenue in Lightwater as part of its route. The resident’s cryptic message reads, ‘Thanks for taking away our independence. RIP Convenient bus service”. [Click on images to enlarge].

Arriva bus routeBriar Avenue Bus Stop

Has the author of Surrey Heath Local Transport Strategy visited Surrey Heath’s villages?

I ask the question because of the description of Lightwater [see below] in Section 7 of the Surrey Heath Local Transport Strategy, which says,”The chapter outlines the different areas across Surrey Heath, presenting the key transport network at each location and identifying a number of problems which currently exist in these areas”.

You can read all the descriptions in Places in Surrey Heath Here’s just the beginning of the description of Lightwater,

7.81 Population: 6,79153

7.82 Lightwater is situated in the centre of the borough, just south of the M3 Junction 3 and Bagshot.

7.83 Originally a farming village, Lightwater is a Victorian settlement, though very little of the original character remains.

7.84 Local facilities include a supermarket, post office, primary school and a number of local shops. The majority of Lightwater’s facilities are located down Guildford Road. Lightwater is also boasts Lightwater Leisure Centre and Lightwater Country Park located off The Avenue in the north of the settlement.

I hope I’m not being precious, but Lightwater’s village centre has a concentration and variety of shops and services, equal to, or larger than those of other Surrey Heath’s villages. It’s the largest of all of Surrey Heath’s villages in the east of the Borough by quite a margin. It’s wrong to say very little of the original character remains. The Edwardian and pre-war houses remain, and are protected in the Lightwater Village Design Statement planning document.

I doubt the author has visited any of the Places mentioned in the strategy, other than possibly Camberley. Take a look at the other villages described, and draw your own conclusion.

I think I need to rewrite the whole of the section on Lightwater. For example in section 7.104 it makes no mention of the number of rail commuters who travel to Woking. Nor does it note the large number of residents who work at Heathrow – many for BA at Terminal 5, who rely on trouble free access to the M3 at J3.

West End is equally poorly described in my opinion, as are, frankly, all the villages. Not understanding the dynamics of each village means a poor appreciation of their transport needs. Oh dear, work to do before February 2nd.

Surrey Heath’s response to Local Transport Review consultation

I picked up a copy of Surrey County Council’s Surrey Heath Local Transport Strategy & Forward Programme at December’s meeting of the Surrey Heath Local Area Committee. I dipped into it, and know that I’ve until February 2nd to send my comments [the consultation period has been extended]. Meanwhile, Surrey Heath Borough Council have submitted their response, below,

Surrey County Council is currently carrying out a Local Transport Review and is asking for comments to its public consultation which closes on 2 February. The review could have implications for bus services, including community transport, to residents and businesses in the borough.

In response to the consultation Surrey Heath Borough Council seeks assurances that bus routes such as the Number 1 – which serves Old Dean and enables residents to access facilities, services and jobs within Camberley Town Centre and further afield – will not be adversely affected by any measures introduced through the Local Transport Review.

Surrey Heath’s rural areas are currently poorly served by bus transport. The borough council is also suggesting that as part of the review, discussions should be held with local bus operators on whether the commercial viability of existing services could be improved, rather than cutting services to these areas.

Continue reading

Bus service re-organisation

I’ve learned of Surrey County Council’s review of subsidised bus services through popping over to Simon Ashall’s blog. I note that Surrey Heath isn’t affected in this first the first phase of the Surrey bus review consultation.

Simon seems concerned about one service – No 73 from Chobham to Woking via Horsell. It’s mentioned on the interactive map on the Woking News & Mail website. While not specifically mentioned in the list of proposed changes, the County Council are asking for views on the service.

Hmm, a quandary arises. Our main bus services are routes 34 and 35. Should I recommend we all start using these buses, to strengthen the case for them? If we do, what’ll happen is that the amount subsidised travel will increase, making Surrey Heath’s deficit on this even larger than it already is. Answer, no. I think the case for routes 34 and 35 is strong. Tinkering with the times is OK, as it’s always useful to match times to customer need, but major changes must be highly unlikely. 

The review of bus services in Surrey Heath is set to be in phase two of the review beginning in September 2011. Looking at the timetable for changes in phase 1 of the review, it seems that it’ll be almost a year before the changes take place, which means no likely change for us until September 2012.

I’m happy to pay

Please don’t get me wrong, if it’s free I’m happy to take the benefit. However, I’m not sure that my free bus travel should be subsidised by others.

Last week I used my concessionary bus travel pass for the first time. I’d walked from Lightwater, across Brentmoor Heath to Bisley, and as it began to rain I decided to catch the bus back home rather than walk.

Yes, I was pleased the I didn’t have to wait long for a bus. I waited under an attractive wooden shelter which has a digital display informing me of the upcoming buses. I was even more pleased that the bus stopped close to home. Happy man was I.

Bus ticketWhat I didn’t understand was that I received a ticket, without my having to nominate a destination. What, therefore, was the charge the bus company assumed for my journey?

Heck, I’d have been happy to pay. Hmmm, I think using the card for the first time quite drove out of my mind that I could have paid if I wanted to. What’s the solution? Well, I know of a system that was used in the West Midlands where tokens were used for concessionary travel. The tokens had a nominal value, thus retaining the link between the cost of the journey and the value of the subsidy.

My view is that concessionary travel users should nominate their journey, and the ticket issued should show the price. Regarding the whole topic of concessionary travel, hmmm, I think I may get hooked on this free travel lark.