Shrewsbury Bus Station is a disgrace. I am embarrassed to use it. I don’t feel comfortable with using it. Yet, it is the bus hub for our county. It is one of the main gateways into Shrewsbury and Shropshire for those travelling by public transport.

New bus hubs and interchanges have been developed around the country. Shropshire Council meanwhile ignores Shrewsbury Bus Station. It promises a new bus interchange, but that is in Phase 4 of its plans to redevelop Shrewsbury town centre between Pride Hill and the riverfront. In the current financial climate and with the council stretched to the limit on existing funding, Phase 4 is probably more than a decade away. Maybe now in fantasy land.

The council has received £18 million in levelling up funding for the Smithfield area. If the council genuinely believes in a major shift in the way people travel from cars to public transport, it should invest some of that money in improving the bus station.

If Shropshire Councillors doubt the need for this, they should get on the bus for a week.

Welcome to Shrewsbury Bus Station

People arriving at Shrewsbury Bus Station alight either at a gate to the sheltered area, at designated external stands with bus shelters or, as is the case with the service from Ludlow on Raven Meadows outside the station.

Once inside the station, it is not welcoming. The public toilets, though better than they used to be, are very last century and are a good contender for a bad public toilet award.

At the last Shropshire Council meeting, councillors debated whether it should commit to a bus station in Shrewsbury. It was a messy debate and ended with the Tories block voting to approve only a vague statement committing to a “bus interchange”.

The once much vaunted proposal that the rail station forecourt could become a bus interchange was trashed by opposition members because it is too small. The forecourt is often crammed with rail replacement coaches when there are problems on the line. Electric buses, which are taller than current buses due to the batteries on the roof, cannot get under the Cross Street rail bridge to access the forecourt.

I argued for keeping the existing site because it is near the rail station and the shopping centres. Despite to the loose commitment to a travel interchange, I still fear we could still end up with a line of bus stops on Raven Meadows with no toilets, coffee bar or other services.

Shropshire Council owns Shrewsbury Bus Station and the adjacent layover bay, as well as the Raven Meadows car park behind the bus station. This is prime real estate, as this 2021 council video made clear. The council has been eyeing up the money it can make from selling the land off.

Whatever the future plans for redevelopment, we can’t wait years for a better bus station in our county town. Shropshire Council should smarten up the bus station and make it an attractive place to wait for a bus and a welcoming place for people coming to Shrewsbury and Shropshire. It needs to do that now, not wait until its grand dreams are delivered.

Shropshire Councillors should get on a bus for a week. Go to work, go to meetings by bus. Only then will they understand just how challenging it is to travel by bus. How hard it is to get the connection to complete the journey on time. How friendly bus drivers are. What a poor image Shrewsbury Bus Station gives of as county that is renowned for its beauty.

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading