As many of you will have noticed, this week (16th Oct 2017) a smart new 16-seater Chatterbus came into service, taking over from the ageing converted minibus. It was officially handed over to us at a ceremony on Tuesday evening, at which our Chairman Sir Gerald Acher said, “The service has proved more popular with the whole community than we ever imagined possible. We are now setting it up in a sustainable way to ensure its continued success.”
The new low-floor Mellor bus will be far easier for the elderly, the disabled, and mothers with pushchairs to board. Extra interior space leaves plenty of room for a wheelchair and shopping trolleys, and the electronic destination boards will make the Chatterbus weekday C1 and Saturday C2 services easier to identify. The reliability of the service will be even greater, with the new state-of-the-art-vehicle.
What will not change, however, is the trademark friendliness of the service. “Our drivers are the best in Surrey,” said Sir Gerald. “They make Chatterbus live up to its name with their good humour. They know many of the regular passengers by name and think nothing of going the extra mile. One tracked one passenger down at home to return a lost rail season ticket, remembering where he had dropped him the previous evening. Needless to say he was very grateful!”
The purchase of the new bus was made possible by the grant of CIL money by Elmbridge Council, and the day-to-day running is underpinned by sponsorship from Surrey County Council, Chelsea Football Club Foundation and numerous small businesses, community groups and people in Cobham and Oxshott. Sir Gerald said, “Semi-rural services like ours can never make a profit and we are forever grateful to our local communities and residents for their continued financial support.”
Other services that will be maintained are the bus tracker and text alert to any delays. Links to both of these, as well as to up-to-date timetables and Chatterbus news, can be found on this website. The bus will continue to wait at the station if trains are running up to 7 minutes late or longer if the timetable allows.