Although fundraising for our new bus service is our main focus right now as we get nearer to our target we are starting to do some work on the practicalities and logistics of the bus service,
And the more we listen to feedback the more ways we are finding of making the new service better than the old Stagecoach buses we lost back in February.
We’re already aiming for a Sunday service, something that we’ve not enjoyed between Ross, Newent and Ledbury for many years. It’s important for locals, but also for the “visitor economy” – which is going to be so vital in keeping our bus on the road.
Many people have said that we don’t need a double-decker bus on these routes. They were rarely full and a smaller bus would be kinder for the environment and more nimble on our country roads.
So we decided to aim for a 32 seater.
Lots of people have also had a little moan about the fact that the old 32 service only went as far as Tesco in Ledbury – a 7-10 minute walk from the railway station. This was the furthest a double-decker could get and still turn around to come back again.
But with a 32 seater, our friends at Rail and Bus for Herefordshire pointed out, we could go right up into the station, just yards from the platforms.
We organised a timed trial with a bus kindly laid on by I and S Coaches (thank you Ian!) and yes, using a smaller more environmentally friendly bus we can indeed provide a proper connection directly into Ledbury station.
It only adds a couple of minutes to the journey and we can still complete the route in under an hour.
This will be handy for people from: Ledbury, as it’s quite a trek up to the station from the town centre – especially if you’re lugging a suitcase.
But for people in Ross, Newent and the villages en route, it provides a really important alternative connection to rail.
For journeys to the Midlands and north Ledbury offers a much cheaper option for rail travel than Gloucester or Hereford. For example £13.20 return from Ledbury to Birmingham, or £25.60 from Gloucester to Birmingham. And we all know how important savings are right now.
We are pretty excited about this new development. It will mean that using the bus is a better option for more people. And the more people on the bus the better.
Some other interesting options came up on our trial run, still up for debate at the moment, but watch this space!