Hay Ho! Bus 2014-2015
How did we do?
The report highlights the key results of the Hay Ho! bus, the 39A service. It also reviews the proposed outcomes of Hay Ho! bus as set out by the Hay Tourism Group in association with the Hay Chamber of Commerce, Herefordshire Ramblers and Rail for Herefordshire.
The Hay Ho! bus operates 56 days per annum, i.e. Sundays and Bank Holidays only; it is operated by Yeomans Canyon Travel based in Hereford. The bus provides three trips in each direction between Hereford and Hay-on-Wye and is contracted by Herefordshire Council on behalf of the Hay Tourism Group. The service started on October 5th 2014 and to date there has been no lost mileage as a result of breakdown or poor weather conditions.
Service delivery has been good; there is now a regular driver and he has outstanding customer care skills. There are three other relief drivers who are occasionally rostered to deliver the service.
The bus sometimes runs a few minutes behind schedule in and out of Hereford as a result of traffic congestion and often encounters traffic jams at Stoney Street, Madley where a car boot sale is located during the summer months.
The company has changed its policy regarding dogs and this matter is now resolved; accompanied dogs can be carried at the discretion of the driver. However, we have been requested to carry bicycles; the issue of cycles on buses is more complicated and it would necessitate a substantial increase in costs to comply. At this time we cannot progress this given our limited funds.
Overall, the Hay Ho! bus meets the working group’s aspiration to build a cross border service which we are proud to support and which serves the communities through which it passes en route to Hay-on-Wye.
The number of passengers using the bus in 2014-15 was 3163. This compares with 3555 passenger trips using the previous 39A to Brecon, i.e. a 12% reduction (in comparison to the estimate of 20% in the feasibility report). This figure is based on tickets issued and excludes return journeys, for example, trips made by passengers with day rovers. Therefore, the overall usage of the service is higher with an estimated 200 return tickets/journeys made during the year (accounting for approximately 6% of all tickets issued).
The average number of passengers carried per day is 56 within a range of the lowest number of 24 recorded on a wet day in February and highest 71 in June (sunny spring day).
There is a high proportion of direct fare payers (61%) in relation to concessionary pass holders (39%). This has important revenue implications in that the high proportion of fare payers travelling to and from Hay-on-Wye; these are mainly tourists staying overnight in the area on Saturday and returning to Hereford for onward travel by train.
Table 1: Passengers carried 2014-2015
|Month 2014-15 (days of operation on the month)||Tickets issued||Average number of passengers per day of operation|
Hereford (including Belmont) generates the most trips (44%) followed by Hay-on-Wye (30%). The Golden Valley (Hardwick to Vowchurch) accounts for 12% and Clehonger/Kingstone 8%. Madley accounts for 5% of trips generated. The main destination is Hereford accounting for 47% of journeys followed by Hay-on-Wye at 27%. The Golden Valley is the destination for 10% of passengers, Clehonger/ Kingstone 6% and Madley 4%.
There is a two way flow of passengers-visitors to Hay-on-Wye plus rambler groups travelling to all of the villages en route. This flow is also supporting local pubs and shops-walking groups have used several pubs, for example, and the shop at Poston Mill. Villagers use the bus principally into Hereford for shopping but there are some work trips. There are also work trips made by young people from Vowchurch and Peterchurch into Hay. Hay-on-Wye, however, benefits mainly from gaining an extra bed night and stay on Saturdays; we carry a steady flow of visitors back into Hereford for onward travel by train.
The marketing of the service by the working group and the increase in patronage meets the outcome envisaged at the start of the year.
The bus made a loss of approximately £3794 in 2014-2105 or approximately £67 per day of operation. The level of subsidy per passenger is £1.01 which is low in terms of rural buses and very low for Sunday. This is a major success, but we are in need of continued support from friends of the bus, businesses and parish councils to ensure its survival.
- We are very grateful for the Hay Tourism Group, Yeomans Canyon Travel, Hereford and Powys councils and the Hay Ho! bus working group for making the bus work so well.
The Hay Ho! bus has been successful in providing the key outcomes determined by the working group in August 2014. There is still work to do to integrate the bus as part of the overall tourist experience…that is our main task in 2016.
- The main tasks for the working group are to
(a) continue to secure financial commitment from supporters, businesses and parish/community councils
(b) maintain a walks programme based on the route-this is working to good effect
(c) develop a marketing programme which attracts more day visits to Hay-on-Wye
(d) discuss ways in which the bus can be integrated into the destination marketing
Les Lumsdon November 24, 2015
Hay Ho! Working Group