Month: January 2014

Claire Wild, Shropshire Council’s conservative portfolio holder for transport, has published a blustering defence of her handing of the Ludlow bus debacle on the Shropshire Council website. The article is factually wrong. Shropshire Council rightly takes pride in its website, but this article undermines its reputation for accurate information. In the article, which should be withdrawn, Wild claims: “Over the past weeks, various rumours and misinformation have been circulating over the bus services in Ludlow. As Portfolio Holder, I have been very concerned that the residents of Ludlow have not been given a full explanation of the situation and I have great sympathy with them over the problems they have been encountering.” There has been no misinformation. Our Ludlow Lib Dem team has worked hard to ensure that residents know what is happening. In recent weeks we have been telling residents that a replacement service would be launched, but we said we had no clue what it would be. As soon as we knew the details, we handed out leaflets with new timetables. Claire Wild told a bus driver yesterday that he should not be handing out our timetables. But they are the only timetables available in Ludlow. Shropshire Council…

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At ten past eight this morning, Shropshire Council’s portfolio holder for transport, Claire Wild, spoke to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Clare Ashford. After this councillors and future candidates met Wild in the Church Inn. BBC Radio Shropshire Transcript Clare A: Good morning, it’s ten minutes past eight, Breakfast Show, now Ludlow’s bus services will change this morning, the existing operator has decided to pull out after seventeen years, now the half hourly 721 and 722 services were run by R & B Travel, and until last year they had a Shropshire Council subsidy to do so, that was taken away in September. So, despite the buses being busy, it wass mostly pensioners using their free bus passes and that means the company was losing money, so its decided to stop. To make sure local people don’t lose out, Shropshire Council has arranged for Minsterley Motors to run part of the existing service in the short term, from today, until they can put routes out to tender. Claire Wild is Cabinet Member in charge of Transport, with us this morning: Good Morning. Claire W: Good Morning Clare A.: So why was the subsidy removed in the first place last September, Claire? Claire W:…

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It’s official and its real. Ludlow now has decent buses. As one Ludlow resident said to me moments ago: “It’s beautiful.” I agree. Today and tomorrow, Minsterley Motors is running an hourly 701 service around Ludlow with a brand new Optare. From Wednesday we are promised a half-hourly service. People have been worried for weeks about the previous service ending. Shropshire councillor Claire Wild told BBC Radio Shropshire this morning that “Up to last week, R&B had not put in notice to end the service.” That is simply not correct. R&B gave legal notice of cancelling the 722 service on 27 November and the 701 on 11 December. It is unfair for Shropshire Council to blame the operator or the Traffic Commissioners for its own inefficiency. Please note that the bus no longer serves Old Street. Many people are used to using the bus as a sort of ski lift, to get from the bottom of the hill to the top. Sorry, they can’t do that anymore. The bus also goes around Steventon the other way from previously. It serves Weeping Cross, Temeside then Steventon New Road.

Currently buses service the park and ride every half an hour, though sometimes the gap extends to fifty minutes. And it can take up to half-an-hour to get back from the town centre to the car park. Many visitors have been appalled by poor timetable, let alone the scrappy state of the buses, some of which entered service in 1978. Several have said that they will never return to Ludlow again. Now the park and ride will be served by just one bus an hour – and it will still take half-an-hour to get back from town. This level of service will only drive tourists away Ludlow. Shropshire Council should close the Eco Park park and ride this weekend, and not reopen it until the bus service is resolved. It needs to cover over the park and ride signs approaching the town. Hopefully a new regular bus service will be announced within weeks. We will be in desperate need of it by the time the tourists season kicks into gear in April. But given the mess that Tory-controlled Shropshire Council has made of Ludlow’s bus services so far, I am not holding my breath.

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