Though it’s only a little over six months since the new Daffodil Line Bus service started running back in April we are already busy planning for year two. Before we commit to another year of bus service, and ask councils for a little financial support towards that, we need to take a closer look at how things are going so far.
The short answer is “Very well thank you!” We had some problems with the timetable in the early days, but those got ironed out and since then things have been running pretty smoothly.
We are only six months in, but we do have some progress to report already. We get monthly reports from the ticket machine on the bus, and some of you will know that we also survey passengers on board regularly. From this information we can tell you that, in our first six months:
- We’ve carried 20,914 passengers
- Our bus and drivers have completed 1,040 trips between Ross, Newent and ledbury with only 3 missed.due to illness and a road closure.
- 42.5% of our passengers had a car available for their journey, but chose to take the bus instead, taking 6,300 private car journeys off our local roads and cutting congestion, pollution and CO2 emissions.
- Our passengers spend an average of £38.80 at their destinations, meaning in the first six months passengers have spent £405,000 in local businesses
- Our “Kids Go Free in August” campaign saw a 300% increase in young people using the bus, many of them for the first time.
- In our first six months we covered 37% of our running costs through ticket sales, the average for a rural bus service is just 30%.
Many locals describe the service as a lifeline and one passenger said “It is not often that you lose a service and then it gets replaced with something better than before”
From September we have also been carrying around 25 Gloucestershire students to school at John Masefield in Ledbury. These students were left stranded when Stagecoach axed our services in 2022 and providing them with reliable, affordable access to education was a key part of our plan.
It’s early days, but it’s a very good start and on the basis of this our two County Councils have already committed to supporting the service into year 2. They see the Daffodil Line as a good investment.
Now It’s time to talk to our town councils.
Last year with your support, our town councils agreed to add an average 40p a month on to your council tax bills, to support the Daffodil Line.
This year, if you think it’s worth it, we’d like to ask them to reduce that amount to just under 30p a month on the average council tax bill. It might be the only bill you get that goes down next year!
If all goes to plan we’d be looking for a little less support next year, and by the following year the cost of the service should be fully covered by fares, and support from the County Councils.
Councils, like all of us, are under more financial pressure than ever. It’s difficult to know what to prioritise.
So if that 30p a month to support the Daffodil Line is a priority for you, please let our town councils know. Whether you are a resident, a business owner, or use the bus for work, education, shopping or just for fun, please drop an email to the council to let them know what it means to you.
Ledbury Town Council:
Town Clerk Angela Price: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor: Helen I’Anson: email@example.com
Newent Town Council
Town Clerk Neil Sapsed: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Sara Hulbert: Sara.email@example.com
Ross Town Council
Town Clerk Sarah Robson:firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Louis Stark: Louis.email@example.com
Even better, come along and tell them in person if you can. We will be delivering a report to Ross Town Council on Monday 13th November, if you’d like to come along and say a few words, or even just be there to support us, that would be wonderful. The meeting is at 7pm on Monday 13th November, at the Corn Exchange (council offices) 7 High Street, Ross on Wye HR9 5HL. It would be great to see you there.
Thanks for all your support so far, and we look forward to seeing you on the bus again soon!