Rail for Herefordshire and Buses (updated August 2014)
What we have done and are doing
Rail for Herefordshire has always had an interest in buses as an essential part of the public transport system and in recent years we have been more active in this area, partly in response to the clear threat to public services, including the bus network, implicit in the financial climate facing Herefordshire Council (in common with other local authorities).
Save Our Buses
In 2010/11 we ran a ‘Save Our Buses’ campaign to retain subsidised bus services, which involved handing out a large number of leaflets to passengers urging them to write to Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for transport telling him why their bus service was important. A large number of people responded, and cuts to bus services that were made in the autumn of 2011 were relatively minor, as were those made in 2012 and 2013. However, it became clear that major cuts were being contemplated for 2014, so we wrote to a large number of County Councillors (of all parties) earlier this year and distributed another round of leaflets. Again many people contacted the Council, but in spite of this a considerable number of cuts have been announced to take effect from September 2014. Evening buses and Sunday services have been particularly badly affected but a lot of daytime services have been reduced or abolished as well. The only consolation is that many buses serving isolated communities have been retained, and that Council officers have done their best to coordinate and rationalise services to make the best use of bus subsidies.
Leaflets and Walks Promoting Buses
We’ve produced 5 leaflets describing the attractions of some of Herefordshire’s major bus routes and in each case also giving details of one or two linear walks which can be done using the bus. The leaflets, which have been published by Herefordshire Council, are called
The Ross bus,
The Kington bus,
The Hoarwithy bus,
The Garway bus,
Black and White Villages by bus.
Following the 2014 cuts, the detailed information on the leaflets about bus times is out of date, but the descriptions are still relevant and all of the walks except Walk 2 of the Garway leaflet can still be done using a bus.
We’ve also led several bus walks for Hereford Ramblers, Energy week and three local walking festivals (Herefordshire, Kington and Hay).
Hereford Railway Station
One of our aspirations for the station (See ‘Hereford Station Campaign’) is to enable passengers to transfer easily between trains and buses. When plans for a temporary car park on the site of the formed Rockfield site were proposed in 2013, we objected on the grounds that extra provision for bus users could easily be provided. The plans were modified to provide an extra bus stop, which is now used by the 32/33 bus to Ross. A small step towards our goal of a proper bus/train interchange, but very helpful for people from Ross, who now no longer have to carry baggage all the way from/to the Country Bus Station.
When the 2014 bus cuts were announced, including the loss of the Sunday 39A bus between Hay-on-Wye and Hereford, we became aware of huge concerns both from tourism providers in Hay and from residents between Hereford and Hay. Several community groups have got together and after many discussions and some generous donations a new service will start on October 5 between Hereford and Hay on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Leaflets advertising this are being distributed; if you want copies of this, please contact us. See ‘Hay Ho!’.
(updated August 2014)