New community bus services on the way
A series of independent, locally-run bus services will be launched in October 2013 following positive talks between Shropshire Community Transport Consortium and Shropshire Council.
The services will be provided by community transport groups, and will give people living in rural areas of Shropshire the option of using a bus at least once a week.
Shropshire Council decided not to renew the five-year contract for the ShropshireLink on-demand bus service when it comes to an end on 5 October 2013, because passenger numbers had fallen to the point where some buses were transporting just one passenger a day.
Claire Wild, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:
“We have been really pleased with the response from community transport groups about expanding their services across the county once ShropshireLink comes to an end. Introducing ShropshireLink five years ago was a positive step, but passenger numbers are now so low it is simply unsustainable.
“By working with local groups we can help them provide vital services for their community, which can then grow or change depending on what people need. ShropshireLink was only available on two days a week in most areas, and these new services are going to be running once a week to begin with, mostly to coincide with a busy day such as when the local market is on.”
Letters are being sent to everyone who was registered for the ShropshireLink bus service, to let them know what alternative services are available in their area and how they can register for them.
Different solutions are being worked up for different areas; for instance, in the Bridgnorth area, a weekly service is being provided from Claverley and Cleobury Mortimer into Bridgnorth.
Jackie Brown, chair of the Bridgnorth Community Transport Group, said:
“As well as acting as brokers for a goodly number of groups in the Bridgnorth area, Bridgnorth Community Transport provides a weekly service into Bridgnorth from Claverley and Cleobury. At this stage we are exploring ways of helping with transport difficulties in the community.”