BUS travel in Herefordshire on weekends will be free from now on, as well as new services being added to timetables, the council has said.

Herefordshire Council said as part of £6 million Covid recovery grant funding, it would be making weekend travel within the county free, and bus companies would run 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 today (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.

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.

Herefordshire Council revealed the new Sunday services, which are:

  • 34 from Monmouth to Ross-on-Wye, via Whitchurch, Goodrich, Kerne Bridge, Walford and Tudorville
  • 36 from Monmouth to Hereford via Welsh Newton, Llancloudy and Wormelow
  • 40 in Ross-on-Wye, a town service via Greytree
  • 401 in Leominster, a town service via Barons Cross
  • 420 from Bromyard to Hereford via Stoke Lacy, Burley Gate and Withington
  • 426 from Bodenham to Hereford via Marden, Sutton St Nicholas and Aylestone Hill
  • 454 from Fownhope to Hereford via Holme Lacy, Rotherwas, Lower Bullingham and Putson
  • 461 from Kington to Hereford via Lyonshall, Weobley, Mansell Lacy, Credenhill and King's Acre
  • 492 from Leominster to Hereford via Hope-under-Dinmore, Wellington, Moreton-on-Lugg and Holmer
  • 496 from Pembridge to Leominster, a circular service via Mortimers Cross, Shobdon, Eardisland and Kingsland
  • 600 in Ledbury, a town service
  • 675 from Great Malvern to Ledbury via Colwall and Wellington Heath

Herefordshire Council said these would run alongside the existing Sunday services, which are:

  • 33 from Gloucester to Ross-on-Wye and Hereford via Lea, Weston-under-Penyard, Peterstow and King's Thorn
  • 34 from Monmouth to Ross-on-Wye via Whitchurch, Goodrich, Kerne Bridge, Walford and Tudorville
  • 39A from Hay-on-Wye to Hereford via Dorstone, Peterchurch, Madley, Clehonger and Belmont
  • 71 and 71B from Credenhill to Hereford via Stretton Sugwas, Kings Acre, Moor Farm and Whitecross
  • 74 from Newton Farm to Hereford
  • 77A from Bobblestock to Hereford, a circular service via College Green, Holmer and Widemarsh Common
  • 476 from Ledbury to Hereford via Deer Park, Tarrington, Bartestree, Lugwardine and Tupsley

Travel is unlimited and free, as long as the whole journey is within Herefordshire, the council said.

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.