Herefordshire is an English Shire county situated at the Border with Wales. It has a total population of 188,100. It is primarily a rural county with its central focus being the county town of Hereford with a population of 58,900. The smaller market towns of Herefordshire are in order of size: Leominster (11,690), Ross-on-Wye (9,970), Ledbury (9,290), Bromyard (4,500) and Kington (3,240). As a rural county, Herefordshire has quite individual problems associated with the provision of public transport services.
Herefordshire is served by two railway lines. Through the centre of the county in a north-south direction runs the main South Wales to the north railway line. Both Hereford and Leominster have railway stations on this line. The train service is a mix of South Wales to Manchester and South Wales to North Wales trains. It is operated under the Wales & Borders franchise at the present time by Arriva Trains Wales. This franchise is due for renewal in 2018 and will then become the full responsibility of the Welsh Government.
A second railway line runs into the county from Worcester and Malvern in the east. Both Ledbury and the village of Colwall have stations on this line. The train service is a mix Birmingham and Worcester to Hereford trains and London, Oxford, Worcester to Hereford trains. The Birmingham Service is operated under the West Midlands franchise by London Midland Trains. The London service is operated under the Great Western franchise by Great Western Railway. The West Midlands franchise is due for renewal this year (2017) and the Great Western Franchise is due for renewal in 2019.
Bus services form the major part of the public transport network in Herefordshire. The county has a long history of independent bus operators and it is no surprise that it is only Stagecoach that represents the big companies in the county. The market towns are connected to Hereford by principal services operated by Lugg Valley/Yeomans from Leominster, DRMBus from Ledbury and Bromyard, Sargeants Brothers from Kington and Stagecoach from Ross on Wye. Some of these trunk services are extended cross-boundary into Wales and the adjacent counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and South Shropshire
Services connecting villages with the market towns and Hereford are mostly run by independent operators on an infrequent timetable. There are also a small number of community transport schemes within the county.
Both rail and bus services are in a current important state of change. For the rail element, it is the matter of refranchising and the determination of future service patterns and investment. For the bus services it is the real pressure of local authority financial cuts in both the bus service support the education transport budgets coupled with rising operational costs and within Hereford the problem of traffic congestion.
Rail & Bus for Herefordshire has a vital and active part to play in both the maintaining and developing of an integral public transport network for Herefordshire. See the about us page for further information on the work of Rail & Bus for Herefordshire.