Shropshire Council has at last taken action over the Ludlow bus crisis.
The good news is that there will now be a bus service from Monday 27 January. It will also be a low floor bus operated by Minsterley Motors, an excellent operator.
The bad news is that I am horrified that the prediction I made just days ago has come true. The new service will run once an hour.
Claire Wild, the Conservative Shropshire councillor responsible for this mess, has said that a tender for a new service will be issued shortly. This tender should have been issued before Christmas. In a press release today, Wild says:
“The most important thing is that there will be no disruption in service and that the local people still have a bus to use. I’m proud of the way our team at the Council have worked to ensure that this is the case – especially to be ready at such short notice.”
We are grateful that we will have continuing services. But short notice? The current bus operator R&B gave legal notice of cancelling the 722 service on 27 November and the 701 on 11 December. There is no excuse for Shropshire Council not knowing that this notice was given – the information is online for all to see. Shropshire Council simply had its head in the sand, as it so often has about Ludlow.
Ludlow deserves better than this. We had an agreement with Shropshire Council that on-street car parking charges would subsidise the park and ride bus service. That hasn’t happened. Shropshire Council’s policy is that Ludlow has a bus service every half an hour on main routes. That doesn’t happen now, let alone next week. We are the only town in Shropshire not to receive a subsidy for its town bus services. Why is this so?
We deserve better treatment from Shropshire Council. Ludlow’s long running bus problems have only become a crisis because the bus service has been so appallingly mismanaged by Shropshire Council.