HEREFORDSHIRE AND THE TRIAL



Herefordshire in regulated times.  Wye Valley Motors operated a network of rural services in the far west of the county, in particular to the Golden Valley.  In October 1969, Leyland Tiger HVJ583 is seen parked in Hereford Bus Station, where Wye Valley had a depot.  Wye Valley were taken over by G H Yeomans in the 1970's.  The former Wye Valley routes are now run by First Midland Red, Yeomans and Abbey Cars, where they still exist.  The Golden Valley area is deeply rural, even though it once supported a light railway.
 
 
 
 
 
 

In 1981, Hereford and Worcester County Council decided to go along with the government's plans to experiment with deregulation of bus services and offered most of Herefordshire as a "Trial Area" under the 1980 Transport Act.  The Traffic Commissioners' control of route licensing did not apply in the area, which included the City of Hereford and much of the rural area surrounding.  Midland Red was in the course of being split up at the time, and somewhat strangely moved some double-deckers, Alexander bodied Fleetlines, to Hereford.  2545 is seen in Hereford in October 1981.
 
 
 
 
 

The first "head-to-head" competitor with Midland Red West was "Flash" Whitehead, trading as Flashes Coaches.  When National Welsh had at an earlier date shed a number of unremunerative routes to the south-east of Hereford, Flash had entered the local bus market by introducing a number of market-day services.  Despite the strict licensing controls of the time, the services had been frequently changed to attempt to produce sufficient passengers from this rural area.  With the introduction of the "Trial Area", he capitalised on local dissatisfaction with Midland Red having discontinued the direct route between Westfields and Hereford City Centre.  He introduced a service in competition with Midland Red, in addition to which he won a few tendered routes.  The Bristol RE shown was acquired from Leicester City Transport, and continued to operate for some time in Leicester livery.
 
 
 

Midland Red West also experienced competition from Primrose Motors, who competed on the service across the river to the Newton Farm housing estate and on the main road service between Leominster and hereford.  The more direct routeing adopted by Primrose to Newton Farm was soon mimicked by MRW service H27, and two competing buses are seen here outside the Shire Hall in Hereford.
 
 
 
 
 

Morris's Coaches also provided a limited amount of competition for Midland Red West.  They had won tenders for the former Midland Red 469 service between Bromyard and Hereford via Bishops Frome, and 476 between Hereford and Ledbury, and DRM Coaches (run by another member of the Morris family) continues these services to the present, although 469 is now a pale shadow of its former frequency.  Morris's also provided Midland Red West with competition on the main Hereford route, but only for a very short time.
 
 
 
 
 

Yeomans Canyon Travel are of course a well-known small operator in Hereford, and ran several rural routes under contract to Hereford and Worcester County Council.  The long-established Credenhill service was later passed to Midland Red West as part of a settlement following a period of competition.  Yeomans have also competed "head-to-head" on Hereford city services in more recent times.  This Bedford/Duple is seen in Hereford Bus Station.