Shropshire Council is to extend its financial support for a number of under-threat bus services from 31 March .
In March 2022 – and again in September 2022 – the council agreed to support 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 – and will be – able to continue operating whilst the council explore options to support services in the future.
The additional support has been agreed while Shropshire Council considers ways to achieve its ambitions for improving public transport that were included in its recent – unsuccessful – bid for government levelling-up funding (LUF). This includes identifying other funding that may be available to help achieve these aims.
The LUF bid included plans for demand-responsive buses, and for transforming Shrewsbury’s park and ride service.
Ian Nellins, 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 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.”