“We are furious that there is to be another cut to Ludlow’s bus service. We are just as angry that there has been no public consultation or a public announcement about the cuts.”
That’s the view of Councillors Vivienne Parry and Andy Boddington after Shropshire Council sneaked out a new timetable for the town’s 722 service. From Tuesday 1 July, the bus service will be cut back from a half-hourly to an hourly service in many parts of the town. The new service will be run by Minsterley Motors, who took over the service last January.
Vivienne Parry says: “We were shocked to see this new timetable. Services to Parys Road have been halved to one an hour. The same is true of Rocks Green. There is no mention of the 722 serving the popular bus stop on Tollgate Road. The new timings will make it hard for people to get to the doctors in the morning. They will face long waits for a bus back from town. In a town like this with many elderly and disabled people, we should be investing in our buses, not cutting them back.”
Andy Boddington says: “The new timetable does little to improve the park and ride service. Visitors will face a journey from between seven to 16 minutes to get into town, depending on their time of arrival. That’s after they’ve faced a wait of up to 30 minutes for the bus to arrive. This is bad news for our tourist industry. We are already the only town in Britain to half a half hourly park and ride bus service. Other towns have at least a fifteen minute service.
“Minsterley Motors have been running an excellent service since they took over the bus contract in the spring. But I am concerned that the new contract has not been put to competitive tender. People on Bromfield Road have been crying out for a town bus service since the 704 was cancelled a couple of years ago. Their needs are completely ignored in this new timetable. This is yet again an example of people in Shrewsbury with little knowledge of Ludlow making decisions that are wrong for the town. What we really need is a third bus dedicated to the park and ride, not these cutbacks.”
Vivienne Parry adds: “I’ve spoke to a lot of people who use the buses and none know about this change of timetable. It’s been sneaked in without consultation with bus users and without any real consideration of their needs. If we don’t run regular buses we will trap people in their homes. That can’t be right.”