Shropshire Council is to extend its financial support for a number of under-threat bus services from 31 March, following two previous six-month subsidies in March and September last year for a number of commercial and subsidised services that Arriva and other operators wanted to amend or withdraw due to a fall in the number of fare-paying passengers.
Shropshire Council said that the additional support has been agreed while it considers ways to achieve its ambitions for improving public transport that were included in its recent – though unsuccessful – bid for Government levelling-up funding (LUF), including identifying other funding sources that may be available to help achieve these aims. The funding bid included plans for demand-responsive buses and for improving Shrewsbury’s park & ride service.
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public transport Ian Nellins 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 further extend our support for these services – which will ensure they continue to operate beyond the end of March.
“We’re extremely disappointed that our LUF bid wasn’t successful but we remain determined to implement our plans for improving public transport across the county, and we’re working hard to identify ways to do this, and to source funding that will enable to do so. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to make further announcements soon. We will also 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.”