Investment in bus services is a key element of Herefordshire Council’s transport strategy.

Improving bus services across the county for residents and visitors is central to plans soon to be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT).

The bus service improvement plan for Herefordshire sets out how the council plans to invest in bus services across the county for a coordinated, reliable and sustainable bus network with a simplified ticketing system and single point of information to make journey planning easier. It also outlines plans for trialling electric buses on the urban bus fleet.

Progressing these aspirations will be dependent on funding from DfT, which is backing the National Bus Strategy with £3bn of funding nationally.

Measures outlined in the plan for the next five years, subject to funding, include:

Bus Network Review: The current network will be reviewed and re-planned so that services are better coordinated with a simplified ticketing system

Develop the ‘core’ network: Levels of service in Hereford city and on main corridors linking market towns and Hereford will be enhanced including weekend services

Enhance the supporting network: A supporting network connecting market towns with surrounding areas will be developed, reflecting the needs of the local community

Demand Responsive Transport: The potential of responsive services to encourage new demand and replace infrequent rural services will be assessed

Driver training and retention: A county-wide project to promote and develop drivers for the Herefordshire bus network will be introduced.

Councillor John Harrington, Cabinet member infrastructure and transport said:

“Investment in bus services was identified as a key element of the council’s transport strategy following the Hereford Transport Strategy Review. Buses are a great way to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and reduce our carbon footprint, but to do this successfully we need a service that is frequent, reliable and easy to use.

“As well as reviewing and re-planning bus services across the county, an important element of our submission to government are plans to trial electric buses in and around the City, which will help improve air quality and modernise the fleet.

“The recent introduction of free weekend bus travel in the county, with a number of additional routes on Sundays, has proved popular and we are certain that people will use buses if they are a reliable and affordable alternative to the car – they may not always be free but they need to be affordable.”