People power has helped bring about a new bus service linking Houghton Regis to Dunstable, Luton and the hospital.
And Arriva is inviting people to hop-on board and test the route for themselves completely free of charge.
The new hourly service 38, which will operate via Windsor Drive, is set to launch after the Bank Holiday weekend, but to give locals the chance a sneak peek of the service, Arriva is hosting trial trips on 17 August, followed by a day of free travel on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August.
The announcement follows a public campaign which sought to reinstate bus services to the community.
Arriva Luton’s General Manager, Linsey Frostick, said: “We understand that there has been some frustration in the local area about the lack of adequate public transport in recent times, but having carefully reviewed the situation, whilst consulting closely with both residents and the Council, we are pleased to be able to commence running service 38 from Tuesday 28th August.
“Because we see the 38 as very much the result of collaboration between ourselves and those who will ultimately use it, we really wanted to provide those people with the opportunity to test the route and timetable so that we can start to gather feedback from the offset. We are committed to monitoring the progress of the 38 over the next three months, so are keen to get people on board as soon as possible to see how the service will work for them.”
Arriva are hosting a bus information event on the morning of the 17 August in the Ash Room at the Bedford Square Community Centre.
The free trial journey will then depart at 1pm from Angels Lane at the back of the Community Centre. Then on Bank Holiday Monday the timetable will operate with the first journeys from Dunstable at 10.17 and from Luton at 10.15 until the last journey at 3.17pm from Dunstable and 3.15pm from Luton.
Cllr Susan Goodchild, from Central Bedfordshire Council said: “I believe Arriva have listened carefully to the residents and learnt a great deal from them and responded in a favourable way,”
The 38 service will operate every hour between Luton town centre, Hatters Way, L&D Hospital, Lewsey Park, Windsor Drive, Houghton Regis and Dunstable. Its launch is one of a number of changes being introduced to Arriva’s Luton network from Sunday 26 August.
>32 Luton - Bury Park - Hockwell Ring: buses will now operate at an increased frequency of every 20 minutes between Luton town centre, Bury Park and Hockwell Ring. Service 32 will combine with service 28 to provide a coordinated 10 minute frequency between Hockwell Ring and the town centre.
>24/24H/25/26 Luton - Barnfield – Dunstable: Services 24 and 25 will provide a combined 30 minute frequency between Luton town centre, Bushmead and Barnfield and extending every hour through Marsh Farm to L&D Hospital. On school day mornings one journey of service 24 will start from Lewsey Farm, with a return journey at the end of the school day. Service 26 will continue to provide additional journeys between Luton town centre and Barnfield College. Service 24H will be withdrawn and replaced by journeys of services 24 and 25. For travel between L&D Hospital, Lewsey Farm and Dunstable please use services Z or 31. Central Beds Council are providing a replacement service for Katherine Drive.
>31 Luton - L&D Hospital – Dunstable: Buses will now operate at an increased frequency of up to every 10 minutes between Luton town centre, Bury Park and L&D Hospital. Buses will then continue to Dunstable every 20 minutes.
For more information about the forthcoming alterations to the network, please visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/lutonchanges