Today we would like to say a huge “Thank You” to Ross-on-Wye Town Council who have voted to support us in our campaign to restore regular bus services between Ross, Newent and Ledbury.
The council debated the motion at a meeting on Monday evening. Many members of the public attended the meeting: Ross residents, but also people who had travelled in from Newent and surrounding villages.
Members of the public spoke about the hardship that has been caused by the withdrawal of the old Stagecoach services: we might think that eight months on from the bus cuts people would have found other ways to get around. But as we were reminded on Monday, that just isn’t an option for many people.
We also heard how excited people were about the future and the new opportunities offered by the service we hope to introduce: a proper connection to rail at Ledbury, a Sunday service and a real drive to use the new service to bring more visitors to our gorgeous corner of the countryside.
Several councillors spoke on the motion. All in favour, but with a wide range of points of view and concerns.
There was very understandable concern about adding to people’s council tax bills during a cost of living crisis – supporting the new bus service could cost a band D household an extra 42p a month.
Councillors also shared our view that in an ideal world our county councils and central government would be sorting this out.
At the end of the debate councillors voted unanimously to pledge £26,000 towards the start up costs of the new service.
It was a big moment for us with all three of the town councils along the route now on board.
With £146,000 now pledged and donated we are moving ever closer to getting our buses back on the road.
Ross on Wye Mayor Ed O’Driscoll made a very good point at the end of the debate. He said that people in the villages along our route would benefit from the new service as much as, if not more than people in the towns.
Ed urged us to now go and ask for support from each of the parish councils along the route, and we think he is quite right. We needed to secure support from the main towns first – because, without them, we knew the bus couldn’t run. But now it’s time to talk to the parishes. Although budgets may be smaller, this is a team effort and we think it’s important that all the parishes along the route join the team.
We hope they are going to agree.
So, a big thank you to Ross Town Council, and as someone said as we were leaving the meeting:
“Now the hard work begins!”