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Roger

First Group Buses Hereford

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Statement from First Midlands

 

Monday 29th June 2015

 

Bus operator, First, has announced proposals to discontinue its bus services in Hereford. This includes the withdrawal of all its services and the closure of its depot on Friars Street from 5 September, 2015. 

First said that its operations in Hereford have not been viable for a number of years. Despite working hard to turn the business around and the introduction of a wide ranging Transformation Plan which included measures to attract more customers, there remains insufficient passenger demand. The continuing challenging economy has also contributed to Firsts proposed withdrawal. 

Nigel Eggleton, Managing Director of First Midlands, said: "Im disappointed that we are proposing to withdraw services in Hereford, but regrettably, we see no alternative. Despite our best efforts and hard work, only 3,500 customers per day travel on our buses. That level of demand is not enough to warrant a stand-alone bus operation. 

"We will continue to operate services as normal up to and including 5 September, however we are today engaging with Herefordshire Council on the future of bus services in the area. Given the volume of other bus operators that operate in and around Hereford, Im confident that customers shouldnt be left without a service."

As a result of the proposed closure of the Hereford depot First has started the collective consultation process with trade unions on the possibility of redundancies, with up to 40 jobs at risk.

Nigel Eggleton added: "Our proposals do not, in any way, reflect on the commitment of colleagues in Hereford who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to the local community. Id like to thank them for their hard work and loyalty. We will be doing everything we can to assist everyone affected and will actively support any of employees who may wish to transfer to other First operations." 

 

First Group

Edited by Roger

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Well I just came onto Hereford Voice to post something on this Roger you are far too quick for me.

 

Really shocking news.

Edited by Denise Lloyd

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Looking at the timetables there are services (varying frequencies) to/from Credenhill, Bobblestock, Newton Farm, St. Mary's School, Belmont, Hampton Park, Rotherwas, Saxon Gate, Putson, Redhill, Bodenham, Leominster, Canon Pyon, Almeley, Fownhope, and Woolhope affected. With the stopping points in between as well. 

 

I don't know the details of any overlapping routes with other companies but I presume Sargeants of Kington can pick up some slack with their services for places like Almeley. 

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This withdrawal is a result of the suspension of services after 7pm. We are a city with a third world transport policy and the only answer is to build more roads so that people, in their mobile living rooms, can come and go as they please. The withdrawal of bus subsidies must also have been a nail in the coffin.

 

We need smaller buses like the Hoppers we had before the bus services were privatised.

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This has been on the cards for years. In 2003 when I launched my Wyes Moves community bus service across South Wye from Belmont to Rotherwas taking in every estate on the way, First won the contract to run the service for us, they immediately withdrew all commercial services across South Wye, and my group had to decide whether we just had a service for the community or change it to enable people to go into town which we did. The Wyes Moves service was only to run for three years but with careful handling of the money £900,000 it went on until 2011. I very much doubt if the service will continue to Belmont now as that service was part of Wyes Moves community service.

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bus_stuff.jpg

 

I just did a random search on the bus timetables. The late bus into town tonight was a subsidised Yeoman's vehicle. Does anyone even use a bus in Hereford if they have an alternative usable method? I don't think I have ever used a bus in Hereford. I fully appreciate the need of certain elements of the Community tho. 

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It's a shame but people don't use the bus like they used too why is that? Is it because more of us are driving or is it because bus journeys are boring & take to long to reach a small distance? Or is it some other reason?

 

I think this is a big problem & needs to be address if new roads are to be deferred from being built otherwise things like the SLR are going to get built because the vast majority of people will want it built without realising the knock on effects & consequences of building new roads because there view of it will be blinkered? believing building new roads will solve the problem of congestion!!!!

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These days Cambo it's all about time sadly and yes it's all about 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. From town to Tupsley in a car avoiding the worst bits 5 minutes but in a bus ages, walking twenty minutes but in a taxi expensive.

In the morning a road trip to Reading well you go early because a 5 minute delay driving to Ledbury means an extra ten minutes at the Air Balloon and then more time to wade through Swindon and so on...it's all about time which is why the school run fouls up the local traffic in the mornings because mums and dads save a little bit of time which can be acquired for another task.

Five years ago I boarded a bus through Stoke Prior to Bodenham and Hereford ...it takes half a morning to achieve its objective and for half the trip I was the only passenger. When everyone begrudges paying their council tax should money go here or perhaps social care?

Edited by greenknight

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Well the Friar Street Depot is pretty big and surely backs onto the old hospital?

Brownfield site perhaps?

 

It certainly backs onto Scudamore School and is a stone's throw from the old Eye Hospital. Which was redeveloped ages ago. Wife's Aunt lives in sheltered housing right next door. The site would be totally ripe for development. 

 

 

It's a shame but people don't use the bus like they used too why is that? Is it because more of us are driving or is it because bus journeys are boring & take to long to reach a small distance? Or is it some other reason?

 

I don't think I have ever used a bus in Hereford. But I visit Liverpool very frequently. I always end up on a bus when I'm there. They are virtually every 5 minutes. The timetable is irrelevant. Turn up at The Stop and the bus arrives. Cost is £2 for a single from the outskirts. 

 

Hereford is different as the bus demand is not there. Much smaller City. 

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It certainly backs onto Scudamore School and is a stone's throw from the old Eye Hospital. Which was redeveloped ages ago. Wife's Aunt lives in sheltered housing right next door. The site would be totally ripe for development. 

 

 

 

 

I don't think I have ever used a bus in Hereford. But I visit Liverpool very frequently. I always end up on a bus when I'm there. They are virtually every 5 minutes. The timetable is irrelevant. Turn up at The Stop and the bus arrives. Cost is £2 for a single from the outskirts. 

 

Hereford is different as the bus demand is not there. Much smaller City.

 

Agreed Roger but like Megilleland I don't understand why hoppers aren't used. Surely they would be more economical?

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All I'm seeing at the moment is the cancellation of bus routes and the withdrawal of major rail expansion programmes. I agree this is not ideal however could this give more shove for a tram system?

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This withdrawal is a result of the suspension of services after 7pm. We are a city with a third world transport policy and the only answer is to build more roads so that people, in their mobile living rooms, can come and go as they please. The withdrawal of bus subsidies must also have been a nail in the coffin.

 

We need smaller buses like the Hoppers we had before the bus services were privatised.

Gotta be honest I do tend to live in my car so guilty of polluting the atmosphere however I learnt that a jumbo 747 drinks fuel at the rate of 4 litres every second so for anyone planning a nice long trip for their holidays please work this out. I calculated that a 12 hour trip even shared by fellow passengers would cover the cost of fuelling your car for one year if averaging 15,000 miles per annum...and let's not forget that this is a holiday not work and you still have to fly home!!!

 

South America anyone or perhaps Australia!

Edited by greenknight

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I agree this is not ideal however could this give more shove for a tram system?

 

The outlay for that, with no real demand for existing buses, is a pie in the sky idea. Not happening. Ever. 

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I don't like cars and I don't like that people will not consider using other forms of transport. But when it comes to buses its the cost that is prohibitive, For me and my wife to get to work it costs Â£1.90 a day in petrol... For us both to use the bus it would cost £9 a day.

 

So in total cost for going to work 20 days a month...

Car - Â£38

Bus - £180

 

I can't afford to use the bus!

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I agree with Jonny.  It is just far too expensive to use the bus around Hereford.

For myself, my wife and my son to get to town it costs over £5 one way, and takes 20+ minutes, to travel the mile and a half there.  We can walk it in that time and save £5 in the process.

Plus, the route on which I live is serviced a lot of the time by double decker busses, which have 2 or 3 passengers (usually pensioners) on board each time.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that that will not make the route profitable.

Hoppers were good for the time, but I can't see anybody using them now though, people are just too set in their ways/lazy to get out of their cars.

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Don't forget the people of pension age get a free bus pass how on earth are they to get about?  No trips out for the older population leads to isolation and depression.  I hope the council are working hard to pull something out of the bag - afterall as we are repeatedly told by Johnson we have an ageing population in Hereford.

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Maybe that's why the buses make no money and are so expensive for the rest of us.

Why do pensioners get free bus travel? most of the pensioners I know are minted and spend most of the year away on holidays. The era of the poor pensioner from the WW2 generation is almost over and what we have now is the baby boomer generation with all their money from final salary pension schemes and booming property values. They are better of than most people in work but because they go out and vote in large numbers they are given everything they want.

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Maybe that's why the buses make no money and are so expensive for the rest of us.

Why do pensioners get free bus travel? most of the pensioners I know are minted and spend most of the year away on holidays. The era of the poor pensioner from the WW2 generation is almost over and what we have now is the baby boomer generation with all their money from final salary pension schemes and booming property values. They are better of than most people in work but because they go out and vote in large numbers they are given everything they want.

You might be right Clarkester but so is Jonny!

The post war generation have done very well..emerging NHS, improved transport, travel, holidays,state pension, housing...its a big list most of which won't be applicable to us not quite there g

yets!

 

Both sets of the wife,s in-laws are retired before 60..final salary schemes,lump sum payments most of which comes compliments of strong unions back in the 70,s... they really don't know where to take their next holiday yet still they moan.

Edited by greenknight

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I don't like cars and I don't like that people will not consider using other forms of transport. But when it comes to buses its the cost that is prohibitive, For me and my wife to get to work it costs Â£1.90 a day in petrol... For us both to use the bus it would cost £9 a day.

 

So in total cost for going to work 20 days a month...

Car - Â£38

Bus - £180

 

I can't afford to use the bus!

And this is the dilemma..commercially run public transport in the UK is now to expensive for most and as the government and local councils don't have the money or the mindset for alternative thinking it's either walk, cycle or car and for many one is far to convenient.

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Jonny I would rather see pensioners get some concessions that some of the youngsters who know how to work the sytem and have absolutely no intention of ever working for a living.  At least the majority of pensioners have worked through their lives and paid into the system and a lot have lived trhough pretty hard times.  If I had the choice my taxes would not go to the slips of girls who get themselves pregnant and have everything handed to them nor to the lazy young lads who claim benefits and then buy fags and scratchcards. They get a job for a day then say it is not for them and back on benefits.  Who would you rather your tax be paid to?

 

Jonny you should spend a bit of time talking and listening to these OAP's and just see what kind of life a lot of them have led.

 

Off topic sorry Colin

 

Oh and we mustn't forget the tatoo's on benefits there is no comparison between OAP'S getting a free bus pass is there?

Edited by Denise Lloyd

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Denise, I totally agree with your comments, not all pensioners own their own homes, without their bus passes it would cost them from Newton Farm, Redhill, Hunderton and Putson £2 each way to go into town. If they lose their passes it cost them £10 to get them renewed, there is also another way to look at this if pensioners can't afford the fares they will be house bound do we really want that? will get off my soapbox now!

Edited by Glenda Vaughan-Powell

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If these bus pass people get free travel then the Operators should get subsidised accordingly ~ proportionate to the approximate bus pass usage rate on the routes concerned. 

 

 

most of the pensioners I know are minted and spend most of the year away on holidays.

 

My Aunt is nearly 80 and lives in the City Centre. I don't think she would bother with a bus pass application as she is not on the breadline. I can't see her waiting at a bus stop for an unreliable bus anyway. I know she uses buses to visit friends in Wales for holiday type breaks but for City Centre travel she'd ring a taxi.

 

On the subject of First Buses I was going northbound on Victoria Street this evening at 18.20. When I was stuck at the lights by Steels corner I saw a single decker First bus turn down towards Whitecross. You could clearly see that there were three passengers on it. Obviously that route, at that time, was earning the bus company next to nil. The three people on there might even have had bus passes! 

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Ok so generalizing is not a good thing however my lovely old mum now 80 lives in sheltered council accommodation and she is registered blind but she does very well on a small council pension and benefits which only just fall short of my other halfs take home salary. My wife and I both know that we will not see any of these hand outs in fifteen/twenty years time and we both started full time employment at 16.

My mother was a home help my father a cleaner and they both worked until they were in their sixties.

Sadly Denise in general terms I don't believe as a generation they have had it that bad (65-75 age group), no significant wars, health and social care, council housing, strong trade unions and reasonably safe environments. Things may start to get a little difficult now as they move into their eighties however try explaining that to someone who lived throughout the second world war, lost family and friends, faced rationing the loss of their homes and had just a radio and neighbours for company....they were still happier even in these darkest of times.

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Roger I think you need to get out more if you think most pensioners are well off I know some very well off pensioners but by the same token I know some very poor struggling pensioners.

 

Most pensioners that I know have applied for their bus passes and why not if it's there use it. It might be safer for them to sit on a bus than try to drive into town

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Roger I think you need to get out more if you think most pensioners are well off I know some very well off pensioners but by the same token I know some very poor struggling pensioners.

 

I have been out. And I still get out. I agree with your point. 

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Many people don't use buses because they are not quicker or more comfortable than their cars. Why use a bus when you have to sit in a queue of other vehicles?

Have dedicated bus lanes and usage might improve. However if you look at Victoria Street for example a bus lane would just leave one lane for all the other vehicles?

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