Protestors demand Barnet bus route reinstatement

The 84 bus route between New Barnet and St Albans was axed last year, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

84 bus route protest
84 bus route protest (credit Joshua Yates)

Campaigners calling for the restoration of a key bus route staged a demonstration in Barnet last week.

Protestors gathered at the bus terminus at The Spires, High Barnet, to call for the 84 bus route between New Barnet and St Albans – axed by operator Metroline last year – to be reinstated.

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, who has also been campaigning for the restoration of the route, attended the demonstration on Tuesday.

After Metroline dropped the route, blaming a decline in passenger numbers, Hertfordshire County Council provided financial backing for a new 84 service between Potters Bar and St Albans – but this misses out a large section of the previous route into Barnet.

Campaigners have called on Transport for London (TfL) and Hertfordshire County Council to work together to re-establish a new 84 service, claiming current alternatives are slower and less convenient. There have also been calls for Barnet Council to help fund its restoration.

Sherry Billings, who is one of the organisers of the campaign, said the protest had been “very successful” and there had been a “great turnout considering the weather”.

“Things are progressing slowly but surely,” she added. “We have some councillors on our side and possible meetings with TfL […] It is not going to happen overnight, but things seem to be going in the right direction.”

NHS staff and young people facing more difficult journeys to Barnet Hospital and nearby schools also attended the demonstration, along with Hertsmere Labour leader Jeremy Newmark and Conservative Hertsmere councillor Sarah Hodgson-Jones.

Protestors held signs saying “bring back the 84” and “hospital key workers and patients need lifeline bus route back”. Sherry said the campaigning to restore the 84 service would continue.

Hertfordshire County Council previously denied claims by TfL and Barnet Council leader Barry Rawlings that it was responsible for discontinuing the old 84 service via funding cuts. It said it could not afford to pay an estimated £150,000 per year to cover the Potters Bar to Barnet section of the previous route.

TfL previously said it was not in a position to take on the costs of the route.

Cllr Rawlings says he is due to meet TfL later this week and will raise the 84 bus route issue “to explore what’s possible”.

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