Shropshire Council is to extend its financial support for a number of under-threat bus services until at least March next year.
In March 2022, the council agreed to support – until at least September 2022 – a number of both commercial and subsidised services that Arriva and other operators wanted to amend or withdraw from operating due to a fall in the number of fare-paying passengers.
As a result of the council’s support, these services have been able to continue operating, though with revised timetables on some routes.
Now Shropshire Council has agreed to continue its support for these services until at least March 2023, a move that secures their short-term future.
It’s hoped that by next March the outcome of the council’s bid for levelling-up funding will be known, and a further update provided about the long-term future of these services.
The services that have received support since March, and that will continue to receive support, are:
9 – Wolverhampton to Bridgnorth
20 – Radbrook Green
21 – Reabrook
544/546 – Little Lyth and Pulverbatch
738/740 – Ludlow to Knighton
552/553 – Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle
435 – Shrewsbury to Ludlow
125 – Highley to Bridgnorth
64 – Market Drayton to Shrewsbury (Saturdays)
701 – Ludlow Town
745A/B – Pontesbury, Clun, Bishops Castle, Lydbury North area.
558 – Montgomery to Shrewsbury
The new timetables will remain in place.
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, I’m pleased that we are able to extend our support for these services which will ensure they continue to operate until the end of March. We’re hopeful that by this time the outcome of our levelling-up bid will be known and we will understand what funding will be available from Government in the future.
“We will also continue to lobby 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.”
A new cross-party group of Shropshire Councillors is now meeting regularly to discuss and consider ways to improve public transport in the council area.