First trip for new hail and ride bus, the Harpenden Hopper

Harpenden Hopper initiative: From left, Cllr Teresa Heritage,Town Mayor Nicola Linacre and Andy Buch

Harpenden Hopper initiative: From left, Cllr Teresa Heritage,Town Mayor Nicola Linacre and Andy Buchanan - Credit: photo supplied

A jump-on-jump-off community bus will make its debut service around Harpenden this week.

The Harpenden Hopper will travel from the Roundwood area to the centre, along a route with approximate stops – but it can also be hailed down at any point so long as it is safe to stop.

Its first journey will start at Kinsbourne Green on The Common at 9.30am tomorrow (February 15).

Set up by residents of Harpenden, with the backing of local councillors, it is designed to tackle social isolation by giving people in an under-serviced area an easy way around.

A charity called Harpenden Connect was set up specially to run the hopper.

Volunteers drive and maintain the bus, which will run Tuesday to Thursday each week – it is £2 for adults, £1 for children, and free for bus pass holders.

The first year of the service is a pilot, to see if people in the area need and utilise the route.

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About 20 people are currently volunteering for the hopper, but to make it viable ten or twenty more people are needed.

There is a variety of roles up for grabs, including drivers, administration help, and mechanics.

Herts county councillor for Harpenden south west, Teresa Heritage, said she would ‘love’ to expand the service in the future.

She said: “If we can get a community bus off the ground it will help with social isolation as well as congestion on the road and helping people with parking.

“We believe it is something people need, and very often a community bus builds up its own community of people who use it.”

To find out more, to donate to Harpenden Connect, or to volunteer, click here

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