HSTG: The Parlous State of Rural Bus Services

A blog from the Herefordshire Sustainable Transport

In 2020 the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Campaign for Better Transport published an important report on Transport Deserts. Its main finding demonstrated that some areas of England are already, or are at risk of becoming ‘transport deserts’, with wildly insufficient local transport provision. The CPRE is set to release a follow up report entitled ‘Every Village Every Hour’

HSTG has had a summary look at the situation in Herefordshire. The county has 42% of its population located in rural villages and dispersed (source Herefordshire Council population statistics). Outside of Hereford and the five market towns we find that of the rural parishes:

  • 15% had a daily frequent bus service of every one to two hours
  • 29% had an infrequent daily bus service of between 2 and 5 journeys per day
  • 19% had a one or two days a week bus service
  • 37% had no service

Correlating the above with population we find that:

  • 27% of the parish population had a daily frequent bus service
  • 42% of the parish population had a daily infrequent bus service
  • 15% of the parish population had a one or two days a week service
  • 16% of the parish population had no service.

These statistics present an appalling situation at a time when government and local authorities are calling on the population to heed the climate emergency, take real stock of carbon emissions from transport and ‘choose how you travel’ in order to reduce trips by car. As colleagues who live in the country say to us….’how can you choose how you travel when you haven’t got a choice. The only bus we have goes early in the morning and that disappears when the students are not at college’.

We strongly support the CPRE in their campaign to highlight the parlous state of rural bus services and the linked facts of rural deprivation and isolation.

HSTG contacts: ghal@btinternet.com or protheroughcarole32@gmail.com