Arriva buses says it will stop operating the 479 bus route and its other Surrey routes from December 18th, when it plans to close its Guildford bus depot.
Efforts are now under way by Surrey County Council to find another operator to take over the Guildford to Epsom route. Talks with Byfleet-based Falcon Coaches failed last week.
The concern is that time is running short for a new operator to move in and avoid a break in services over Christmas and New Year.
Matt Furniss, Surrey’s Cabinet member for transport, updated councillors in a letter last Thursday. Outlining the problem he said:
“Arriva Kent & Surrey Ltd has announced the closure of its bus depot in Guildford from 18 December 2021 and intends to cease operating all of its services in Surrey from that date. Services affected are: A, 3 (Sundays), 18, 28 (one early morning journey), 34, 35, 36/37, 47, 53, 63, 91, 134, 135, 436 and 479.
“A previously announced plan for the Arriva business to be purchased by another operator is now unable to proceed. Surrey County Council is very aware that many of our residents rely on these services to get them to work, school, college, shopping, medical appointments, and access to a range of travel requirements.
“The County Council is therefore now working closely in partnership with other operators to ensure the continuation of all Arriva's services without interruption and to achieve a positive outcome on behalf of the travelling public.
“The details for all the continued services are still being drafted and further information will be released as soon as they are finalised.”
Leatherhead and Fetcham East Councillor Tim Hall says it has been on the cards for some time that Arriva was looking at ending its operations in Surrey.
“The County Council Public Transport Team are negotiating with a variety of operators to take on the various routes from Arriva. It's not intended that there is any gap in service. This is a fairly frequent experience with a change of operators.”