We need bus services serving towns and villages to ensure that people can get to work, the shops and medical services. services between towns in the south of the county have been affected, like everything else, by the Covid-19 lockdown. The Diamond Ludlow to Kidderminster 292 service runs a Saturday service all week, as does the Lugg Valley service to Leominster. From Monday, the 435 Minsterley service between Ludlow and Shrewsbury and the 535 between Bishop’s Castle and Shrewsbury will be reinstated. Both will run on Saturday timetables.
The maximum capacity will be 50% of seating to allow social distancing. Passengers will be asked to sit in every other seat. Buses are regularly cleaned.
Bus passenger numbers are reported to have fallen by 78% across England due to the emergency. Government funding is essential to maintain services and keep bus companies in business, especially in rural areas where many bus companies are quite small.
The reinstatement of the Minsterley routes is made possible by the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG). This is a government fund of £166.8m allocated by the Department for Transport to support buses during the current emergency. It will be paid on top of regular government bus subsidies for the three months from Monday.
This is a good and essential move. Although the country is in lockdown, the rules allow essential travel.
All five of the inter-town bus routes in south west Shropshire will run on Saturday timetables from Monday.
435: Ludlow to Shrewsbury via Craven Arms, Wistanstow, Dorrington and Condover. Saturday service. Departs from the Compasses at 07:45; 09:30; 11:30; 13:30; 15:30; 17:30. Timetable. Operated by Minsterley Motors.
292: Ludlow to Kidderminster via Clee, Cleobury Mortimer and Bewdley. Saturday service. Departs from Upper Galdeford (opposite chippy) at 08:35; 10:35; 12:35; 14:35; 16:35; 18:35 (to Clee only). Timetable. Operated by Diamond Bus.
738/740: Ludlow to Knighton via Bromfield, Leintwardine, Bucknell and Chapel Lawn. Normal service. Departs from Ludlow Assembly Rooms. Timetable. Operated by Arriva.
535: Bishop’s Castle to Shrewsbury via Hope, Minsterley, Pontesbury and Hanwood. Timetable. Operated by Minsterley Motors.
In addition, the town bus service will continue to run to an emergency timetable. The 701 and 722 services have been merged.
701: Ludlow Town. Departs from Ludlow Assembly Rooms at 8:00; 9:00; 10:00; 11:00; 13:00; 14:00; 15:00; 16:00. Operated by Minsterley Motors.