9.5 C
Shropshire
Monday, April 15, 2024
- Advertisement -

Telford & Wrekin Council-run bus services buck the national trend

Council-run bus services in Telford and Wrekin have seen encouraging growth since they were introduced almost a year ago.

Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council Cabinet Member for place, the economy & neighbourhood services. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council.
Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council Cabinet Member for place, the economy & neighbourhood services. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council.

Council-run bus services celebrate 150,000 passengers

Investment by the council of £1.4m has resulted in journeys increasing by almost 30%, equal to more than 144,000* journeys since December 2022.

- Advertisement -

Seven services with capped fares at £2 per single journey (£1 child) were introduced providing more stops in rural areas than ever before, better links to the Princes Royal Hospital as well as services for schools and colleges and opening employment opportunities.

Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council Cabinet Member for place, the economy & neighbourhood services said: “We have laid the groundwork for a responsive and affordable service that can adapt quickly to the needs of users who told us the service was broken and expensive.

“These figures are brilliant and show public support. But we could do so much more if only the Government would give us long-term adequate funding or the power to runs services ourselves.”

The most successful service – the Express 100 – links residential areas of Brookside, Sutton Hill, Madeley and Woodside, with the major industrial estates of Stafford Park, Halesfield and Hortonwood, Wellington and the Princess Royal Hospital. Usage continues to rise, bucking the national trend for passenger numbers.

Passenger on the 100 reached record numbers in September alone with almost 9,000 journeys and confirmed savings from one passenger of more than £100 per month in taxi fares the launch was accompanied by social media comments like Maryann Evans’: “This bus has been fantastic for the Telford Priory school run. My son has caught it a few times, but my daughter caught it this am, she said how polite the driver was and how clean the bus was.”

The 101 Madeley to Wellington bus, caters for schools and colleges and carried 13,000 journeys since launching in January 2023 with the standard child fare of £1 per single journey.

Regarding rural services, Angela, a Waters-Upton resident said: “It’s going to be very good because we been isolated in wat for quite a long time now – four or five years, I’ve seen quite a few people catch it and it only started yesterday. You can get from Newport through the villages to wellington and there’s quite a few busses a day.”

Councillor Carter added: “We have developed an affordable service with the funding currently available, but the Government needs to do so much more as our funding is coming under increasing pressure. We provide the best overall fit within a budget and we’ve more developments on the way.

“We have clearly shown that our services can respond to local needs quickly and without the red tape national operators are tied to.”

Funding from Government for bus service improvements amounts to £650,938 from the £1 billion made available nationally. This is equivalent to 45p for every £1 it costs to run bus services in Telford & Wrekin. Additional money has been made available via the HS2 project but no detail as to how this can be spent and future funding remains uncertain.

The Bus Services Act 2017 bans local authorities from establishing their own bus companies and the council consistently lobbies Government for new franchising powers to keep fares down, increase the number of local bus routes and make buses more attractive for everyone to use.

- Advertisement -

Advertisement Features

Featured Articles

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Advertisement Features

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -