ALL bus travel within Herefordshire will be free on weekends from now on, Herefordshire Council has pledged.

Thanks to investment as part of the £6 million Covid-19 recovery fund, anybody will be able to hop on and off any bus in the county, as many times as they like, without paying a penny.

The only condition is that the journey must be entirely within the county.

To help people make the most of the scheme, there will also be additional services on Sundays, serving several locations including Bromyard, Ledbury, Leominster, Kington and Colwall.

No information has been released yet about the extra services.

Coun John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said the scheme would make it easier and cheaper to travel, helping connect people and boost recovery from the pandemic.

With the free travel starting this Saturday, he said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer free, unlimited weekend bus travel for the whole county for what we hope will be at least a year.

"By making it easier and cheaper to get around, the scheme will help to connect people and communities, and provide a kick start to the local economy by getting people back to enjoying our vibrant city and market towns.

“Travelling by bus is often better for your physical and mental wellbeing, allowing you to sit back, take in the world from the window and enjoy the ride.

"It also reduces congestion and wear and tear on the road network, and is better for the environment.

“We’re encouraging everybody to compile their own ‘bus-it list’ – a selection of locations, journeys and experiences in the county that can be enjoyed thanks to free bus travel.

"Whether it’s an afternoon shopping in a high street, a day out to a museum or historic site, or travelling to meet friends for a meal or a drink at a local café or restaurant, you have all the reasons in the world to ‘bus-it’.”

Free weekend bus travel is just one element of the council's Covid-19 recovery plan, which is providing funding of £6 million to support the county in its recovery from the pandemic.

Council leader David Hitchiner said: “We know how important it is to connect people with their communities and to the wider world and to help people feel safe and supported.

"The investment, support and activities outlined in the Recovery Plan help to address the impact of covid-19 on people of all ages, as our communities look towards recovery.”

Bus travel will remain free to residents of pensionable age, and those with a qualifying disability through the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

To help keep everybody safe, it is still compulsory to wear a mask when travelling by bus.