Improvements to new on-demand bus service announced in Shropshire

Improvements to Shropshire Council’s new on-demand bus service come into effect this month, in response to feedback from passengers.

Shropshire Connect On-Demand was launched in December 2023, initially in two zones, and with plans in place to expand the service on a zone-by-zone basis.

It has replaced the 544 (Shrewsbury to Lyth Hill) and 546 (Shrewsbury to Pulverbatch) bus services. It’s also providing links to the new residential developments at Oteley Road in Shrewsbury, not previously served by public transport.

Since its launch the service has seen a steady increase in passenger numbers – and received helpful feedback, which is now being used to improve the service. These changes include:

Old Coppice and Lyth Bank
After considerable demand, the service is now available to residents and visitors living in the Lyth Bank and Old Coppice communities. From Tuesday 2 April 2024 there are now two stops added to Zone 1 which will be in walking distance for residents living in these areas.

Concessionary travel passes
A new mechanism for customers with a concessionary travel pass looking to use the service. Passes, as before, will be accepted, and we encourage as many users as possible to download the app to book their journeys using their pass for free journeys. However, any user that would like to use a concessionary travel pass will need to add a credit/debit card to their account in case they wish to add additional travellers to their booking.

On-demand and later bookings on the same day
A three-hour restriction on making a booking later the same day is being reduced to two hours, so that customers can receive more options of travel when using the service and have less time to wait if choosing to book on the day.

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public transport, said: “Following the successful launch of the Connect On-Demand service back in December, the service has gone from strength-to-strength. Operating in areas such as Pulverbatch, Longden, Hook-A-Gate and Oteley Road we have seen an increase in passengers to the public transport network and considerable positive feedback from users, as well as constructive feedback that we are very keen to take on board as we look to expand and further improve the service.

“We would like to thank all our customers and those yet to join us through our launch period and our first operating year. The feedback provided has been incredibly valuable and we are really pleased with the positive engagement from the local community.

“We also aware that some passengers have opted to use the service rather than using private cars. This demonstrates that a reliable and flexible bus service will help to reduce traffic in Shrewsbury town centre.”

Speaking about the Lyth Bank and Old Coppice extension, Roger Evans, local Shropshire Councillor for Longden, said:“This is welcome news for the many residents living on Lyth Hill that have been asking for this new innovative service, using smaller buses that would be made available for them to use.  Hopefully this is just the start of making public transport more accessible and better able to meet the needs of both residents and visitors.”

Further upgrades and expansions are planned for later in the year to provide the service in additional communities.

For full details of the service, please visit the Shropshire Council website.

The below video – also found on Shropshire Council’s Youtube channel – provides more information about the service.

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