Newent minibus service connects isolated villages
A trial minibus service has been set up to help plug the gap left by a recent reduction in services near Newent, writes Carmelo Garcia.
Stagecoach removed the 132 service which used to run from Gloucester to Ledbury via Newent on February 27.
The bus company also reduced its 32 service between Newent and Ross-on-Wye which only operates as a school and shopper link. But now a twice weekly 632 service has been launched to help link the communities which have been cut off.
This minibus service operated by Newent Community Transport connects Tillers Green, Dymock, Gorsley and Kilcot with Newent on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Clare Stone, of community action group Buses4Us, who helped organise the new service said: “We’ve been able to work with community transport, Gloucestershire County Council and all the parish councils along the route.
“There is also money coming from the Forest of Dean and contributions from local businesses. It will at least bring people from the villages into the town at least twice a week. It works out so that they could catch the 32 to Gloucester to go for an hour if they need to.
She said the trial will run for 26 weeks and they are also consulting about the possibility of setting up a Ross-Newent-Ledbury service.
Ms Stone said: “It is all up for discussion at the moment. In its current form, it has a couple of advantages over the old Stagecoach services.
“It would include a Sunday service, which didn’t exist on the old Stagecoach route, but is becoming increasingly important to capture the leisure market.
“It would also provide a direct link between Ross and Ledbury in just under an hour. It currently takes over two hours to get from Ross to Ledbury on public transport with a change from bus to train at Hereford.
“This will cost in the region of £250,000 to run, which is what we are working towards now.”
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