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On Wednesday 9th March, Ledbury Town Council hosted a meeting to discuss the way forward following the Stagecoach bus routes withdrawal on the 132/32 routes.
It was a well-attended meeting and has been reported on Gloucestershire Live. Stagecoach manager James O'Neill, explained the reasons behind the cuts and Cllr John Harrington, who has responsibility for community transport in Herefordshire, informed the meeting of the lack of available funding for subsidising routes that were not commercially viable. However, after much discussion and listening to the views of members of the public, councillors urged the two county authorities to resume talks with the aim of providing some sort of replacement service for the local communities who are severely disadvantaged by the Stagecoach cuts.
In the meantime, through the Buses4Us local campaign group, a temporary solution is being proposed. Funding is being sought for a three month trial service to link the local villages with Newent, run by Newent Community Transport, twice a week.
There is likely to be an initial subscription needed for the service of £5. Concessionary passes will be accepted and the return fare for those without a pass will be around £3. It is unusual for a timetabled service to be provided at short notice and this is being carried out as exceptional provision. More details to follow.
If enough people use this service and fill out the survey (link to follow) we hope that a longer term, permanent solution will be determined by the two county councils in whose area the axed Stagecoach buses used to run.
The expression "Use it or lose it" was never more relevant.
As well as people being cut off from essential activities and services, our community needs to switch from private car usage wherever possible, to public transport, in order to reduce our carbon emissions. Without reliable public transport, that is not going to happen in this area between Newent, Ledbury and Ross.
This will be on the agenda at Newent Town Council's meeting on Monday 14th March, 7pm at the Community School. Members of the public are welcome to attend and some will be able to speak in the public participation time at the start of the meeting.
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