2016/17 Annual Report
During 2016, the Society’s Transport Group has encouraged and publicised plans for a new community bus service, which has come to fruition in the shape of the Harpenden Hopper, whose operation, described on page 12 of the Winter newsletter, began in mid-February.
After its first week in service, Hopper operations manager Simon George reported very positive feedback from those using the bus, as well as would-be passengers who had seen it en route and expressed interest in the timetable. He said the intention was, where feasible, to display the timetable at regular Hopper stopping points, which would itself help to publicise the service.
At a meeting of the St Albans Bus Users Forum in November, many of the detailed issues raised were concerned more with St Albans than Harpenden. But the forum nevertheless provides us with useful points of contact with representatives of the bus companies and Herts County Council. Lobbying for the continuation of subsidised services for lesser used routes proved unsuccessful.
An unresolved issue needing to be pursued, for non car-owning Harpenden residents especially, is the provision of bus service(s) to Watford General Hospital. Meanwhile the group endeavours to keep track of changes to existing bus services, obtaining copies of amended timetables for scrutiny at the public library and town hall.
The group continues to maintain a watching brief on changes to rail services, through membership of the Association of Passenger Transport Users (APTU), which continues to monitor the performance of Govia Thameslink and to produce its regular reports on developments including planned changes to the timetable, station staffing and electronic ticketing. It is tempting to say Govia’s poor - to put it mildly - operating performance of recent months can only get better. There is some hope for that as its new rolling stock gets settled in.
The ‘Harpark Group’ (previously the Avenues Working Group) continues its work in developing a comprehensive parking strategy for the town. It lobbied, successfully, on the grounds of practicality, to prevent the introduction of a controlled parking zone (CPZ) in the Avenues area.
A response was provided to the Herts Transport Vision 2050 consultation, setting out the HCC estimates of future traffic volumes and other issues throughout the county and the consequent need to reduce reliance on private cars and encourage moves to more sustainable modes of transport.