From the late 1920s, Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) operated Service 415 between Bromyard and Pencombe (Church) on Thursdays only, which was Market Day in Bromyard. After the war, the market day service was extended to Ullingswick and Felton and more journeys were added. Wednesday and Saturday was Market Day in Hereford, so additional journeys were introduced on those days which were extended to start and finish in the City.
Service 415 only operated on Wednesdays by the early 1970s, and was withdrawn in the late 1970s and replaced by Service H24, which ran one return journey on Fridays only. This service was short-lived and was withdrawn in c. February 1979.
Herefordshire was a trial area for deregulation of the bus industry from Monday 21st September 1981, and the route was operated by independent operator(s) under contract from the local County Council. From the late 1980s, the route was again operated by Hereford depot when the contract was won by Midland Red West Limited, although by now it had been renumbered to Service 405 and ran on Mondays and Wednesdays only.
From Wednesday 26th April 1989, Service 405 was operated by Midland Red West Limited from their Hereford depot as part of a contract with Hereford and Worcester County Council. The service ran between Pencombe, Little Cowarne, Ullingswick, Preston Marsh and Hereford, and had previously been operated under contract by Smiths Motors (Ledbury) Limited. On Wednesdays only, two daytime return journeys ran between Hereford and Pencombe, while an additional evening return journey ran on Mondays only and continued to Bromyard.
The contract was due for renewal on Monday 7th January 1991, and was regained by Midland Red West Limited, and was held until Wednesday 22nd May 1996 when it passed to Bromyard Omnibus Company.
|New April||1989||Hereford ↔ Pencombe|
|January||1991||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard|
|April||1993||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard|
|September||1994||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard|
In May 2017, Herefordshire Council invited operators to tender for two contracts to operate bus services in the Ledbury and Bromyard areas. First Midland Red Buses Limited won both of these contracts by entering a combined bid that was cheaper than operating each contract individually. The contracts were for a term of seven years and came into operation on Sunday 3rd September 2017.
The contract included operation of Service 405, running a single daytime return journey between Cradley, Bishops Frome, Bromyard, Pencombe, Ullingswick, Westhide, and Hereford. Although the bulk of the contract won was for a seven-year term, Service 405 was considered to be poorly used so this route was only for a one-year term.
The service only runs on Wednesdays so the first journey operated by First Midland Red ran on Wednesday 6th September 2017. The service was previously operated by Astons Coaches of Kempsey and ran over the same route, but this was not the same route that had previously been operated by Midland Red West as several rural routes had been merged together to form this new route.
By November 2017, it was clear that changes needed to be made to the route as it was arriving in Bromyard around 20-minutes late on the return journey, causing problems with the following Much Marcle School Service. Because of driver hours, planners were unable to simply have the service depart Hereford earlier, so instead the route was changed to omit the Bromyard Town section to Winslow Road, and also to run direct between Burley Gate and Hereford via the A465, and thus omitting Westhide and White Stone. To serve these deleted sections of the route, new Service 404 was created that included these sections but was shortened to run only between Bishops Frome and Hereford, omitting Fromes Hill and Cradley. From Wednesday 6th December 2017, Service 404 and Service 405 ran alternate Wednesdays, with Service 405 running on the first, third and fifth Wednesday in each month, and Service 404 running on the second and fourth.
On Monday 14th May 2018, First introduced a number of changes to route operated as part of the Herefordshire contract. From this time, Service 404 was withdrawn and Service 405 was extended to start and finish in Ledbury, running via Bosbury and Cradley. The timetable was changed to accommodate the extra journey length.
Service 405 was withdrawn on Monday 6th April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
1 Service 405 operates one return journey from Cradley to Hereford on Wednesdays only.
2 On journeys towards Cradley, vehicles continue past Bromyard on request only.
3 From 6th December 2017, Service 405 operates one return journey from Cradley to Hereford on every second Wednesday, with Service 404 running on alternate Wednesdays.
|New September||2017||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard ↔ Cradley|
|December||2017||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard ↔ Cradley|
|May||2018||Hereford ↔ Pencombe ↔ Bromyard ↔ Ledbury|