Woman criticises cancellation of Tesco's free bus service in Hemel Hempstead
Tesco said the service has been under used for some years
A woman has criticised the cancellation of Tesco s free bus service in Hemel Hempstead.
Julie Ford, from Hemel Hempstead, was shocked when she found out earlier this week that the free bus service provided by Tesco for shoppers would be withdrawn at the end of June.
The bus service for Tesco customers currently runs three times a week and is free for customers who show a Clubcard to the operator.
Tesco said they have been monitoring the bus service route and it has shown low passenger numbers over a prolonged period of time.
Julie said: "Tesco in Jarman Park currently runs a free bus service three days a week and I have just found out that they will be stopping it.
"I am not happy at all, it is a service used by many people, particularly pensioners and mums with buggies, they rely on this service.
"It currently runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am till 1.30pm and anyone with a Tesco Clubcard can use it for free.
"It is an Arriva bus, but I believe that Tesco funds the service.
"It is not just the fact that it is being cancelled, it is the way it has been done, there was a small A4 poster on the bus that I didn't even notice until someone pointed it out.
"The service will no longer be running from 27th June, that is not even a month's notice.
"I think it's awful, for me it is not really an issue as I can walk down the hill, but for the pensioners, or those who struggle to walk, they rely on that bus.
"It goes from Jarman Park, down the dual carriageway, round Riverside and Marlowes and then back, it's basically from Tesco and round the town centre.
"For some of the elderly people that use the service, they also rely on the conversation and interaction with others on the bus.
"This is a national thing that Tesco do so I can't understand why they would cancel it in Hemel Hempstead.
"They are saying that there are alternative bus routes, but the only other one goes by the ski centre, so they still have to walk down to Tesco.
"I just don't think it's fair for the people that rely on that bus in Hemel Hempstead."
Tesco said they have provided passengers with four weeks' notice that the bus service will be ending, including posters.
The company has also asked Arriva to hand out publicity materials to passengers as they board the bus.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have made the difficult decision to stop the provision of the 101 bus service to and from our Hemel Hempstead Extra store which has been under used for some years.
"We’re really sorry for any inconvenience this causes and we’re working hard to ensure that any passengers are fully informed about alternative routes in the area so they can plan their journeys in advance.
"We will do everything we can to provide support where it is needed, particularly to those who are elderly and vulnerable in the community and to whom, should this removal mean they are unable to access the store, we would prioritise our online deliveries.”