Passengers win in fight for Hereford bus service

Passengers who organized a 116-name petition to bring local bus service back to Hereford have finally gotten their wish.

But the service’s new operator said passengers will have to use it or lose it.

Sheila Taylor, who organized the petition last October, said: “I have continued to push for 71A to be brought back.

“People still stop me about it – we’re a mostly older community so a lot here need it.”

Natalie Amos, transport manager at Kington-based bus operator Sargeant Brothers, said: ‘We listened to the public about this and decided to set up this service ourselves.

The ‘E Route’ service will largely follow the old 71A route between Moor Farm Lane, Hereford Cemetery on Westfaling Street, White Horse Street and the bus station near the Tesco supermarket.

Services will run hourly six days a week, except Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Herefordshire Council has given it its blessing, but we are still waiting for the (West Midlands) Traffic Commissioner to sign it,” Ms Amos said.

However, the service will run as an unsupported commercial service.

“It’s a gamble for us – if people don’t use it, we’ll have to reconsider it, or divert it, in a few months,” she said.

“If you look at our Tupsley A route that we put in place last June, we didn’t think it would break even for 18 months, but it took off.”

The bus used on line E will be a new British-made Optare Solo, “at least initially”, Ms Amos added.

On the issue of access in the narrow streets of the area, which had been a problem with previous services, she did not foresee a problem.

“We experimented and even managed to bypass the roadworks,” she said.

Melvin Z. Madore