As has been the case for any number of years, our rural bus services are yet again under threat. The local council seems to cut subsidies every year and we who rely on them to get to work have the same situation and worry annually. Some of us do not drive and a bus is a necessity. We hear much of 'the needs of school children' and 'Pensioners stranded' and such like. But what of the likes of me, who needs to work, and cannot get there any other way? Trains are expensive - prohibitively so - and would eat up about a third of my income if I used this transport method.

In 2015, First Midland Red saw fit to close the Hereford bus station, sacking all their drivers and leaving it to the local privately-run bus companies to fill the gap. DRM Buses seems to have the most cover locally and by and large do a reasonable job; except when arbitrarily cutting a route without consultation and very little warning. Every July we have to wait to find out what buses are still running in August.

For example, both First Bus and DRM both used to run an early route into and from Hereford, coming from Hereford it would pass my house and I could catch it to work in Worcester. Either bus. And the same coming home.

Now, neither DRM nor First Bus operate an early service from/to Hereford.

In order to get to Worcester in time for work my partner has to drive me in to Bromyard to catch the 7.22 First Bus. There is no DRM service until about 10am, again from Bromyard. We passengers have little or no say in which routes remain or are cut and often only find out about them though hearsay and rumour.

We are encouraged to use public transport. How do we do this when the service is consistently slashed through council budgets cuts? And what of all the new-builds going up around Herefordshire and Worcestershire? Will all the people occupying these drive, I wonder? Villages and towns without Neighbourhood Plans are being forced to accept large numbers of housing, often whole estates, without any consideration given to the travel needs of those who will occupy them. Local infrastructure, such as it is, is groaning at the seams already.

It seems to me that buses should be a service and not something subject to the whims of councillors who have no idea about the rigours of everyday life and who rarely, if ever, need to catch a bus. The rural economy is such that there are few jobs, unless one is prepared to pick strawberries or shovel muck for a pittance. I would not choose to travel for work for more than three hours every day if there were more choices open to me.

I would very much like to see regular and reliable buses between Hereford and Worcester (starting early), which run at sensible times for individuals such as myself to get to work and back, without all the unnecessary stress currently endured. I would also like to see proper and regular maintenance of the roads - and the buses - since potholes make for uncomfortable travel (a whole other subject being the costs involved).

I am unhappy we seem to be a third world country in terms of public transport, one half expects to find the buses full of chickens with suitcases strapped to the roof - Berlin and Athens are shining examples of what can be done with a little thought and effort by those who make these lazy decisions and spend our money.

I trust this will all be taken into consideration, though a public consultation does not give me great confidence that anything positive will result. I have been trying to get comments and improvements on this issue for at least five years with little success, so I will be pleased and surprised if my faith is restored.

Deb Whitehead

Stoke Lacey