Today is the last day to give your views on Shropshire Council’s unsustainable slash and burn cuts to bus services

Shropshire Council has been consulting on drastic cuts to local bus services. The council is only concerned with saving £455,000 – plus an unspecified saving on concessionary fares. This is a slash and burn exercise driven by a council that doesn’t have a strategy for the future of public transport in the county.

The proposals will cut Bishop’s Castle off except for the school run. It is bad news for sustainable transport in Shrewsbury with a substantial hike in park and ride costs. In Ludlow, the popular 701 town service will be cut by a third.

These cuts will disproportionately disadvantage older and vulnerable people, along with those of limited mobility. Shropshire Council has failed to assess the impact of the cuts on people, communities and the environment.

Buses are a social service. By providing access to medical, retail and social facilities, they promote health and wellbeing. That lowers costs elsewhere in public sector, including the care sector and the NHS.

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Ludlow town bus service to be cut back as Shropshire Council abandons sustainable transport

On Tuesday, Shropshire Council announced a consultation on huge cuts in bus services. For Ludlow, the headline is that the 701 town bus serving the east side of town will be cut back from a half hour service to a 45-minute service. There are no plans for changes to the 722 park and ride service. No cuts are planned to the out of town routes from Ludlow to Kidderminster (292) and to Knighton (740). The Minsterley 435 service to Shrewsbury and the Lugg 490 to Leominster and Hereford do not receive direct subsidy from Shropshire Council so are unaffected by these proposals.

The bottom line is that the council wants to cut more than £400,000 from its bus budget. There has been no assessment of the impact of these cuts on how people get to medical services, shops, friends and work. This consultation shows that Shropshire Council has abandoned any ambitions for sustainable transport.

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Shropshire Council budget: Bus subsidies cut, park and ride fares up and new housing company burdened with debt

Shropshire Council has cut £48 million from its budget over the last three years under pressure of government cuts. It will need to cut, or in its words “save”, £18.5m next year. The council has now set out details of the proposed cuts and is asking for public comments.

The lengthy litany of cuts is grim. In this article, I look at buses and Shropshire Council’s plan for a new debt-ridden housing company. I also review other cuts that will affect how Shropshire Council works with local communities and will make Shirehall more distant from Ludlow than ever.

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Shropshire Council statement on the parking ticket slapped on a Ludlow bus

Two weeks ago, penalty charge notice was stuck on the windscreen of a bus in Mill Street. This was parked in an authorised bus stand. The Arriva bus driver was taking a break before resuming the journey to and from Knighton. Shropshire Council has now agreed a deal to stop this happening again.

I copy this below. What puzzles me is that Shropshire Council decided to slap a ticket on a bus rather that sort out a solution with the bus service parking in the first place. We need to move away from an “enforcement first and solutions later policy.” Buses are one of our most vital public services. I will be asking for new signs to be put in place when the new parking regime begins in November.

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My evidence to the House of Commons transport select committee said rural buses are a social service we need and deserve

The House of Commons transport select committee is investigating the state of the nation’s buses. The health of the bus market inquiry is looking at a number of technical issues and matters like congestion – which is barely relevant in Shropshire. But one of the themes of the inquiry caught my eye:

The committee is particularly interested to receive evidence on… the provision of services to isolated communities in rural and urban areas, and the reliance of particular communities and groups of people on bus services.

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