Watford's bus provision has plummeted over the last 13 years - with the county council admitting it is a “turbulent time” for the industry.

The number of stops made by buses in the town per hour has fallen 42.9 per cent from 107.6 in 2010 to just 61 in 2023, according to research of government timetable data.

It reflects a Hertfordshire-wide trend, as bus frequency across the county fell by 39.9 per cent on average last year compared to in 2010.

Although Watford services came less often than the county average, it fared better than Dacorum and Three Rivers, which saw a 46.4 and 44.8 per cent decrease in frequency respectively.

Hertsmere saw a 23.6 per cent decrease from 122 to 93 "trips per hour" over the same period.

The research, based on Department for Transport figures, was done by the University of Leeds and environment group Friends of the Earth.

It comes as Arriva recently confirmed it will axe the 328 service from Abbots Langley to Mount Vernon Hospital in June, citing a shortage of drivers in the area and lower passenger numbers post-pandemic.

The bus provider said the route was “no longer financially viable” just months after it replaced three different services in November as part of a major shake-up of local services.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said it was a “turbulent time” for the industry and blamed a “sharp decline” in passengers during the pandemic as well as a driver and skills shortage.

They added that although Hertfordshire bus mileage has been “steadily declining for a decade”, it was “fairly steady” between 2017 and 2020 before it dropped by a third in lockdown.

“We are working with local bus operators through the Intalink Enhanced Partnership - the first such partnership in the country - to maintain as much of the bus network as possible in the face of these challenges,” the spokesperson said.

The county council, which pays companies like Arriva to operate Herts buses, said it did not have direct control over the majority of services as 90 per cent are run and funded by private companies.

But it said it had secured £29.7m from the government for its Bus Service Improvement Plan to improve service frequencies, introduce reduced fare programmes, and improve highways infrastructure.

Arriva and Uno bus have been contacted for comment.