Shropshire Council launches bid for £98 million to transform bus travel

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A £98 million bid to transform bus transport across the whole of the county has been made by Shropshire Council. The council has submitted a bid to the Government as part of the Bus Back Better programme, including green buses, Sunday services, real time passenger information and more affordable fares.

The council said it wants to deliver a service which makes bus travel a viable option for people across Shropshire – especially in rural areas. A number of requests have been made as part of the bid, which has been backed by Shropshire MPs Owen Paterson, Daniel Kawczynksi, Philip Dunne and Mark Pritchard. The requests for change have come directly from the county’s residents, following an online consultation asking for residents’ thoughts on bus services.

The council had more than 2,500 responses and more than 25 days’ real time experience fed back.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “We are delighted to have submitted a bid for £90 million of Government funding to transform bus services all across Shropshire. We firmly believe that our submission can transform public transport in the county and provide a more sustainable transport network for our residents. Earlier this year we asked you how you felt bus services in Shropshire performed and what they could do to improve,” she told residents. “We have listened and asked for funding to deliver these changes. We don’t want to simply replicate service levels of metropolitan areas, we want a fair reflection of a service that bus users here in Shropshire can expect.”

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for physical infrastructure, added: “This is hugely exciting. Some of the changes we are bidding for include 30-minute service frequencies in key urban areas; longer operating hours; Sunday services on key routes; more affordable fares; real time passenger information; and importantly – green buses. We want a service that gives people a legitimate choice of travel in Shropshire and the benefits that come with that – the economy of our towns, transport decarbonisation, easing social and rural isolation and better access to essential services, such as healthcare. We have huge ambition to deliver this service and are delighted to have lodged this bid and look forward to the Government’s response.”

The bid also includes a re-imagining of the current Shrewsbury Park & Ride service as Shrewsbury Connect, with colour-coded buses taking on different routes. RICHARD SHARMAN