It is no thanks to Shropshire Council and huge thanks to the energetic team at Bus Users Shropshire for getting a better service between Ludlow and Leominster from May.
The 492 service to Hereford was withdrawn by Herefordshire Council in September 2014 as part of bus service cutbacks. The replacement 490 from Leominster only ran into Ludlow on school day morning and evenings to carry college students. Otherwise it terminated shy of the Shropshire county boundary at Orleton.
This has disadvantaged a lot of people. Many Ludlowians, especially the elderly, used the service regularly to shop in Hereford. Ludlow college students found it valuable to travel in and out of town at lunch time when they were on half days. The service was particularly important for residents living in villages south of Ludlow, including Orleton and Richard’s Castle. For residents of these villages, the 492 provided transport to Ludlow’s GP surgeries, hospital and market. Since the 492 service was cancelled, many of villagers have had to pay £10 each way just to visit the GP.
Viv Parry and I lobbied for a replacement service with Shropshire Council. But officers and the lead councillor said the council had not contributed to the costs of the 492. For that reason it would not consider paying towards any replacement service, or even assess the need for a service.
Bus Users Shropshire then stepped in and lobbied Herefordshire Council. The result of their magnificent efforts is an agreement for a one year trial of two extra buses a day from 11 May.
The buses will be operated by Lugg Valley Motors and will leave Leominster at 0945 and 1215 and return from Ludlow at 1020 and 1250 Mondays to Fridays. The current early morning and late afternoon journeys will remain the same.
I’m looking forward to this new service. It is going to give me a lot more options for walking the fields and forests south of Ludlow. But it is much more important that the extra buses will help many other people who need to travel to Ludlow for essential needs.
I can’t thank Bus Users Shropshire enough for getting this deal. I take my hat off to them.