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Ledbury loses its coach to the North PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Eager   
Saturday, 13 June 2015 11:42

National Express has axed its 321 coach service which directly connected Ledbury to Birmingham and the North and South and Westwards to Aberdare in Wales.

The loss of this service will inconvenience travellers who will now face either taking the local 132 bus to Gloucester to connect to Birmingham or travelling by train.

There is an option of connecting to the 343 National Express coach at Ross-on-Wye, which goes daily to Birmingham; however there is only one weekly local bus from Ledbury to Ross-on-Wye leaving Ledbury at 9.30am each Thursday.

Comments (1)
Let the train take the strain
1 Tuesday, 23 June 2015 15:09
Steve Glennie-Smith

National Express runs a service (no. 319) from Oxford, via Birmingham, to Bradford.  The 321 duplicated the route from Birmingham northwards, so this appears to be a rationalisation exercise, which has also left Hereford without a coach link to Birmingham.

There are 3 National Express coaches a day from Gloucester to Brum, with 3 returning each day.  The journey usually takes just over 2 hours, but one of these is a fast (1hour 25 minutes) service.  However, the last return from Brum gets into Glos. after the last local bus back to Ledbury has departed - so a day-trip to Brum is no longer feasible on the buses.

The fare from Glos. to Brum - for someone over 60 holding a coach card - is £4 each way, plus a booking fee of £1.  An annual coach card costs £10.  The local bus would be free to those with a bus pass, but only after 09:30 on weekdays.  Anyone without a coach card would pay 50% more, plus the £1 booking fee - and those without a bus pass pay the local bus fare as well.

There is an hourly (approximately) train service from Hereford, via Ledbury, to Birmingham New Street, which is about ¾ mile from Birmingham coach station at Digbeth - so if you are an avid coach user, you could continue your journey from there by that means.  The train journey from Ledbury takes 70 minutes.  A railcard holder pays £7.10 for a day return - an annual railcard costs £30.  Otherwise, the rail fare, like the coach fare, is 50% more.

So, the train is a no-brainer.  That is, discounting the fact that breakdowns occur more often than they should, or if Ledbury lost its railway line altogether.  The latter remains a risk with two tunnels and a viaduct, all of which are expensive to maintain, on the single-track section between Hereford and Great Malvern.

The daily National Express 445 service to London (via Cheltenham) remains for the time being.