Hertfordshire County Council has responded to an open letter from the group leaders of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council calling for better bus services.

The letter, signed by Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Paul Zukowskyj, Labour group leader Cllr Lynn Chesterman, and Conservative group leader Cllr Tony Kingsbury, raises serious concerns about the borough's bus network not being prioritised for funding in HCC’s latest Bus Improvement Plan.

HCC has now responded with an open letter of their own, signed by leader Richard Roberts.

"The Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for Hertfordshire was submitted in response to the National Bus Strategy in 2021," the letter states.

"Hertfordshire County Council secured £29.7m of funding over a three-year period through to March 2025.

"The overall aim of the BSIP is to boost bus patronage through a variety of initiatives. Some of these are county wide, such as the introduction of new Savercard products for the 60-plus age group, and the continuation of Savercard for 11 to 25 year olds. These products give a 50 per cent discount on bus travel.

"The continuation of the government funded £2 bus fare also enables cheaper fares for all residents in the county.

"The BSIP bus service strategy is focused on creating 'turn up and go' style 15-minute frequency services between the key towns identified.

"This enables the time limited funding to be invested into the network and then tapered off for the services to be maintained commercially at the end of the funding period."

The letter continues by stating that Welwyn Hatfield will benefit from the following new and expanded bus services thanks to the BSIP:

  • A new Welwyn Garden City to Stevenage route 908 has started, running hourly. This brings back a regular service to the Valley Road area of Welwyn Garden City
  • On November 19, 2023, service 908 was combined with new route 725 and the existing 301 route to provide an increase from two to four buses an hour between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.
  • The 725 doubles the frequency of direct buses to Watford and provides new links to Rickmansworth. This also provides a faster service between Welwyn Garden City and St Albans via Hatfield Galleria. 
  • From January 7, 2024 a new BSIP service 323 creates a new Haldens, town centre and Hertford link every 30 minutes. This, together with bus routes 324 and 724 will provide four buses an hour between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. Chequersfield and Burrowfield will be served by the new 323.