Tag: park and ride

Bus Users Shropshire: Rejuvenating Ludlow’s Park and Ride Service 722

This is a guest post from Bus Users Shropshire (BUS). It proposes rejuvenating our town’s park and ride service. BUS says allowing more access for the car has been eroding the core attraction of Ludlow town centre for years, diminishing the appeal of walking around amid historic buildings and browsing in small shops. The group says there has been a lack of maintenance of the park and ride. Marketing of the service has lapsed. I might add with the proposed closure of King Street and High Street during the middle of the day at peak periods, the park and ride service will be even more important. We should grasp this opportunity to ensure we have the high quality park and ride service our town deserves as the lockdown eases and ends.

“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…

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“We’re going all ’round the Wrekin,” she said to her husband. A few minutes later, she almost shouted: “We’re ’round the Wrekin again.” That’s not an unusual sentiment on Ludlow’s park and ride service. Take a bus from the park and ride at the Eco Park and it first takes you to Toll Gate Road. The bus then doubles back to go along Parys Road, before turning around and returning along the same stretch. It was at this point that the visitor made her first remark about going ’round the Wrekin. After Parys Road, the bus does a short loop around Greenacres before whizzing down Weeping Cross. At this point, passengers feel we are at last getting to town. But alas, the bus turns left to sweep around Steventon, before once again breezing down Weeping Cross. It was the sight of Countrywide for the second time that caused the lady to shout her second complaint. The couple had come from Wellington and were among around 20 people the 722 picked up at the park and ride. It’s a popular service, free to park and, for pensioners, free to ride. But so often, I hear passengers groaning about the tour around…

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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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