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28 January 2019, 19:32 | Updated: 28 January 2019, 19:35
Three bus services in Hertfordshire are to get more funding from Hertfordshire County Council.
The authority has announced that funding will continue from April for bus services currently being supported on a short-term basis.
The services to benefit from this longer term funding are the 202 Ashwell – Ashwell and Morden Station; the 304 Hitchin – St Albans; and the W1-4 Kingswood - Meriden – Watford.
The 202 has always been supported by the county council, which had to enter into an emergency arrangement with A2B Bus and Coach last November when the previous operator surrendered its contract.
A2B will continue to provide the service following competitive tendering.
The county council stepped in to support the route 304 Monday-Friday service in December when Centrebus concluded that they could no longer maintain it on a commercial (for profit) basis.
Centrebus will retain the service and will be adjusting the timings to improve reliability.
Last October the county council acted, along with bus operator unō, to arrange replacements for the Kingswood – Watford section of Arriva’s service 324.
A contract for new services W1/2/3/4 was awarded to Red Eagle who will be providing part of this operation on a commercial basis from April, with support from the county council for the rest.
These services are supported entirely by the county council apart from the Sunday operation on route 304 (Wheathampstead – St Albans) which is paid for by St Albans City & District Council.
Councillor Derrick Ashley, Executive Member for Growth, Infrastructure, Planning and the Economy, said:
“We know people depend on these services for access to work, education, shops, personal services and social events so we are pleased to be in a position to be able to reassure them that they will continue to operate.
However, some commercial services across the county generate little or no real profit so we could be called on to support them at any time, putting more stress on budgets. The best advice we can give is to secure the future of your local bus service by using it whenever possible.”