THE new move to save a Herefordshire bus route axed by Stagecoach is gathering pace, with a launch possibly within weeks.
Community action group Buses4Us has been trying to gather support to reinstate services between Ross-on-Wye, Newent and Ledbury after Stagecoach dropped the 132 route.
In February 2022, the bus company also reduced its 32 service between Newent and Ross, which now only operates a school and shopper link.
Stagecoach said at the time that the Covid-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of people using these routes, with buses north and west of Newent running at a total loss of £200,000 a year.
But Buses4Us says it is now in the final stages of its start-up fundraising for the new 232 Daffodil Line bus service between Ross-on-Wye, Newent, and Ledbury, and it hopes to have the service on the road in time for Easter.
It has recently received pledges of financial support from Dymock and Linton Parish councils, with all local councils asked if they could contribute £2 per voter to get plans off the ground.
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It said Much Marcle Parish Council will now vote on whether to support the new bus service, a village which the group said is in a slightly different situation to the rest.
"For all the other communities along the route the new 232 will replace bus services axed by stagecoach back in February last year.
"Much Marcle hasn’t had a regular bus service for quite some time - which seems crazy considering the size of the village and its location just off an A road.
"When we were doing our trial runs for the new service we found that adding Much Marcle into the route put just four minutes onto the journey time and still allowed us to complete the Ross to Ledbury run in under an hour.
"So it seemed like it would be rude not to include Much Marcle in the route."
The group said it hopes that having a regular seven days a week bus service every two hours to Ross-on-Wye, Newent and Ledbury will be a benefit for people in the village.
"And for the rest of us along the route, having the option of taking the bus to visit Hellens (who have already made an amazing pledge of support), Westons Cider Mill, the country pubs and walks in the area is going to be a real plus," it said.
"We’ve asked each of the parish councils along the route to consider donating £2 per voter.
"This is going to be the cost of a return bus fare from a village to the next town. For Much Marcle this would come to £1,140. Fingers crossed they think we’re worth it."
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