Issue details

Temporary public transport network arrangements during period of COVID-19 emergency measures – January 2021 lockdown

To ensure public transport services are maintained at sufficient levels to meet the travel needs of key workers and vulnerable members of the community during the current COVID-19 emergency which commenced on 5 January 2021 and to provide support to at risk suppliers responsible for vital services.

The Secretary of State for Transport issued guidance on 25th March 2020 regarding maintaining essential bus services and supporting bus operators financially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

By suspending the time restriction on the use of concessionary bus pass use, vulnerable members of the community will be able to travel by bus for free at all times of the day. This will allow them greater flexibility to make essential journeys such as for shopping or to attend medical appointments or vaccinations.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the council has followed Department for Transport guidance by maintaining concessionary fares reimbursements to bus operators at pre-pandemic levels. This will be maintained through the January and February 2021 lockdown period to ensure operators have the financial support they need to continue operating vital services.

Data obtained during previous Covid-19 lockdown periods has shown that the public bus network in Herefordshire, both subsidised and commercial experiences a dramatic decline in passenger numbers during lockdown periods. Services have seen passenger numbers as low as 3% of normal levels and are not sustainable as commercial routes. To support bus operators by assisting them to reduce commercial operating losses whilst maintaining a suitable public transport network council contracted services have been redeployed to operate the core bus network. This will ensure operators receive adequate income to operate the routes whilst at the same time ensuring a suitable network is available for key workers and vulnerable members of the community.

The core bus network is defined in the council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) as the minimum level of service that will be provided. The network ensures links between market towns and Hereford City and a range of supporting routes which connect major villages with Hereford and the market towns. The core network also ensures the main arterial routes in to Hereford City are served by regular services. In summary this will provide:
• 2 hourly services between Hereford and each market town and main villages operating between 0730 and 1830 Monday to Saturday, no Sunday services will operate with the exception of service 33 Hereford – Ross on Wye

As indicated in point 2, after re-deploying contracted services to cover the core network an amount of vehicle capacity remained available for use. This will be allocated to operate other priority town services as follows:

Hereford City services
71B – Hereford / Credenhill
74 – Hereford / Newton Farm
77A – Hereford / Holmer circular
78 – Hereford / Rotherwas
78A - Hereford / Rotherwas
78X - Hereford / Rotherwas
79A – Hereford / Putson / Redhill
477 – Hereford / Canon Pyon

Leominster Town services
401 - Leominster town circular
402 - Leominster / Ridgemoor circular
403 - Leominster Southern Avenue circular

These services will generally operate Monday to Saturday with a frequency of hourly or 2 hourly.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 08/01/2021

Decision due: 8 January 2021 by Director of Economy and Place

Contact: Adam Houchen, Process & Procurement Manager Email: