Yeomans Travel have hit back at Herefordshire’s Council’s press release that was released earlier that stated that Yeomans plans to withdraw the majority of their commercial bus services in the City of Hereford from 1st January 2022.

Yeomans Travel have this evening sent the following press release to Your Herefordshire.

“Yeomans Travel have made the difficult decision to withdraw most of their commercial bus services in the City of Hereford, the last day being New Year’s Eve, Friday 31st December 2021.

“Yeomans Travel has been family owned for over a century and currently provides bus and school services, contracts, private hire and holiday tours. In September 2015 we stepped in and kept the bus services running when First closed their Hereford depot citing that it was not viable to operate with such low passenger numbers.

“Most of the Hereford city bus services are run on a commercial basis without any Council subsidy. The Government had given financial support to all bus companies during the Covid crisis to keep some services operating but this finished at the end of September. Since then we have continued to operate these services without support but this is not sustainable.

“In recent years, and especially since the start of the Covid pandemic, the number of passengers carried has been in slow decline as more people have bought cars and traffic congestion in the city has got steadily worse. The rise of out-of-town shopping and employment centres has also reduced demand for travel into the city centre. There have been no discussions with local operators about bus priority or traffic issues until recently when the Government unveiled a package to local councils to assist bus travel.

“We are now carrying only 50% of the numbers of bus passengers that we were carrying in 2019 and this is unfortunately typical of bus services across the whole of England and like many others are also having to absorb the large increase in fuel costs.

“Whilst Yeomans Travel is aware that Herefordshire Council is working on a new Bus Strategy that will involve support for bus services across the County, we are having to act now to protect the future of the Company. We are upset that the Council have not even mentioned the reason we are stopping these services in their press release. When we informed them, with the reasons behind it, they offered no assistance or asked what they could do to help other than to ask us to carry on until April. If it is not financially viable, why would we continue until then?

There was not even a thank you for stepping in with six weeks’ notice and solving the problems 6 years ago when First did the same thing only on a bigger scale.

“Therefore the following services will be affected from this date:
City services 71 (Credenhill), 72 (Bobblestock), 74S (Bishops School), 77A (College Green and Bobblestock circular), 79A/88 (Putson and Redhill) will be withdrawn.

“Service 74 to Newton Farm will continue to operate but the route via Hunderton will be withdrawn. Service 78/78X to Rotherwas/Skylon Park will also continue to run.

“We had given Herefordshire Council the statutory notice required before withdrawing these bus services and they have already published a tender to operate emergency timetables on these routes, which they also failed to mention. These will now be financially supported, if we had been offered this we would have continued operating these services which would have meant no disruption to services at all and saved a lot of time and effort all round.

“There are no job losses created by these changes and we will still be operating our subsidised services throughout Herefordshire.

“We would like to thank our staff for their hard work and passengers for their custom and support over the years but we cannot continue to operate something that is not commercially viable.”