Most of you will have seen and or experienced the mighty upheaval outside Barrs Court Station as contractors drive through the Hereford City Link road as part of Herefordshire Council’s all singing, all dancing roads policy to help solve Hereford’s transport problem. The original Edgar Street Grid Plan included a new transport hub at the station. Eventually, Herefordshire Council officers agreed to meet RBfH to provide an update on what is happening.
Mairead Lane (Head of Herefordshire Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Team) introduced the meeting by advising that the Inner Relief Road was expected to be completed by October 2017 and that Herefordshire Council would not be starting work on the Transport Hub until early 2018 as they did not wish to create too much disruption for passengers. Since a previous meeting much has changed, not least the fact that FirstBus has withdrawn from Hereford City Centre and their replacement Yeomans may now have different views on serving the station.
Herefordshire Council has already had discussions with both Network Rail and Arriva Wales who own much of the land but as Gareth pointed out Arriva may not be the franchisee in 2018. However, both Mairead Lane and Alan Lewis (Herefordshire Council Passenger Transport Manager) were positive in their attitude towards a transport hub adjacent to the station.
It was intended that the new Hub would have real-time bus information.
Andrew asked whether it was still the intention to dispense with both the Country and City Bus Stations and was advised that it was proposed that the City Bus Station would go and operators of city services would depart from stands in Newmarket Street and Maylord Orchards (the only country buses using the City Bus Station are X39, 437, 477, 446 (single journey), 447 and 449 (both single journeys), 492 (Sundays only), 501, 502 and 504. However, no decision had been made over the future of the Country Bus Station.
The objections that RBfH raised at a previous meeting were reiterated:
- There was not enough layover space for buses at new Hub.
- There were no facilities for drivers or passengers i.e. toilets, café.
- What was the position of buses coming from the East of the county e.g. 426, 420, 405 and 469? Alan advised that 426 and 405 would continue to terminate at St Peters Square and there was no intention to alter that terminus but it would be unlikely that it could be used for layovers. Some 420 services continue to St Peters Square and most depart from there and he did not envisage any change to that arrangement.
However RBfH are concerned that if the Country Bus Station is closed there is no link between the city and the hub for eastern bound passengers and the suggestion that passengers could change buses at the Hub to get into town was not passenger friendly. Alan advised that there would not be a shuttle service between town and the Hub. The Hub on the original plans had a cramped look rather than a new interchange and Mairead agreed with this. It was agreed by all that if you had just had a long journey from London, Manchester etc. you wanted the last part of your journey to Ross, Hay etc. to be a smooth transition and not waiting around in some dingy bus shelter.
A request was made that better temporary facilities for bus passengers, pedestrians and cyclists be put in place during construction works. An assurance was given that this was already in hand moving the temporary bus stops nearer the station entrance. An update meeting is targeting for the early Spring at which bus operators will be present.
This article is based on a report by RBfH Buses Sub-group member Andrew Pearson.