Shropshire Council steps in to fund local bus services
Shropshire Council is stepping in to fund a number of local bus services following the recent announcement by Arriva and other operators of changes and reductions to some of the current routes they operate.
It has been a difficult couple of years for the transport sector and there are many new challenges as the country recovers from the effects of the pandemic, higher fuel rates and driver shortages. Sadly, many local bus operators nationally are having to take immediate action to ensure their businesses are viable in the future.
In Shropshire, some services that have been in the past commercially operated by Arriva have had to be reviewed as well as some subsidised services that receive funding from Shropshire Council.
Where the council can step in with the funding it currently has available, it has done so and provided support for these services until early September 2022.
When support runs out for these services in September 2022 it does not necessarily mean that the routes will cease, it simply allows the council a period of time to reflect and identify any alternative solutions to encourage new passengers as it looks to Shropshire’s future in terms of public transport.
The services that are to be funded by the council include:
- 558 – Worthen
- 553 – Plox Green
- 20 – Radbrook Green
- 9 – Wolverhampton to Bridgnorth
- 21 – Reabrook
- 64 – Market Drayton to Shrewsbury
- 738/740 – Ludlow to Knighton
- 544/546 – Little Lyth and Pulverbatch
Regarding Arriva’s service 20 operating from Shrewsbury town centre to Radbrook Green, this service historically been commercially operated by Arriva. Arriva had decided that this service was no longer commercially viable and was withdrawing this service from 22 April 2022.
The council is pleased to announce that it has agreed to financially support a reduced service from 23 April that still provides a significant number of journeys for current users and residents until September 2022.
This interim subsidy is significant and not affordable for the council past September 2022 and solutions are being sought to combine this with other services in the area to provide a longer-term sustainable solution. News on this will be publicised in the coming weeks.
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public transport, said:
“Whilst finding any additional funding to support bus services within Shropshire is extremely difficult in the current financial climate, we have been able to provide some temporary support for some of the services that Arriva were looking to withdraw from, and we are hopeful that this period will allow for us to understand what funding may be available from Government in the future.
“We know that some services will still be affected, and we anticipate there is likely to be a similar picture played out throughout the country, but we are determined to continue to lobby the Government with our bus operators for the funding that we need, to make bus services a realistic option as a first choice of travel across Shropshire.”
The revised timetables for bus services will be publicised on Arriva website and Shropshire Council’s Newsroom in due course.