New bus timetables for bus services in Herefordshire will commence from 31 August. Facing significant cuts in its budget, the council has had to review all its activities to meet savings of £33m by 2017. At a meeting on 23 January 2014, the council’s cabinet considered a report on the review of transport services. It agreed to reduce subsidies to bus services in the county by £1 million over the next two financial years (2014/15 to 2015/16).
Following a public consultation, priorities were identified for continued subsidy with the aim of retaining support for a core bus network and rural lifeline services. Whilst the services have been redesigned to improve efficiencies and reduce cost, subsidies for low priority services have had to be reduced or withdrawn. Whilst some of these services may continue to be operated on a commercial basis by local bus companies, there will be some services that are no longer provided.
Cllr Paul Rone, cabinet member roads and transport said, “I recognise that the service changes may affect some passengers. However, we have been working closely with bus operators to explore how we can make savings through more efficient services and journey planning whilst protecting as much of the county’s bus network as possible. We have taken opportunities to integrate some contracts and ensure more efficient use of vehicles and drivers.
Where possible, we have integrated school transport services within the wider bus network and retained limited rural/market day services which link to the core bus network transport corridors with regular, higher frequency services. We have also explored whether some supported services might operate commercially and without subsidy and the level of savings that might be achieved by reducing the frequency of some services. Following these discussions, I am pleased that a number of bus operators have agreed to continue some evening and Sunday services without any subsidy from the council. I hope passengers will support these services so that they are able to continue in the future. ”
To find out more about affected services please visit the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/bus-service-changes where a draft bus service timetable can be viewed.