Free weekend travel on all bus journeys in Herefordshire was launched on 4th September 2021 as one of the council’s Covid-19 recovery schemes to encourage people to get back to buses. Bus journeys are free in Herefordshire on Saturday and Sundays until further notice.
The initiative has been positively received by bus operators and the public. Figures for the first full month after the launch, show that there was a positive effect on the numbers of passengers traveling by bus to Hereford and the market towns.
Patronage grew by 32% from the first weekend of the month to the last:
• Patronage on Saturdays increased by 993 journeys (26%)
• Patronage on Sundays increased by 473 journeys (72%)
• Taking Covid-19 recovery scheme journeys in isolation, patronage grew by 1288 journeys (46%) over the month, with Saturdays increasing by 862 journeys (39%), and Sundays by 426 journeys (78%)
In addition to free weekend travel, eight new Sunday bus services were introduced to maximise the opportunities for weekend travel. 1227 journeys were made on the eight new Sunday services during the first month of the scheme.
The increased use of weekend services and the uptake of the new Sunday services shows that there is a desire amongst members of the public to move to more sustainable forms of transport.