Media release for immediate release
‘Savage bus cuts spark campaign’
Transition Town Shrewsbury and Ludlow21 have launched a campaign to get Shropshire Council to ‘think again’ about proposed cuts to bus service subsidies. Citing the Council’s bus strategy which lists 33 routes affected, the campaign points out that young people, and anyone without access to a car, will be ‘demobilised’ through the ending of all Sunday and Evening services, which will leave many people unable to make the journeys they take for granted at the moment.
Chair of Transition Town Shrewsbury’s Sustainable Transport Group, Paul Flinn, said, ‘The Shropshire Council bus strategy mentions towns the length and breadth of Shropshire as under threat of losing subsidised services. The 25% cut in the route subsidy budget is swingeing, and doesn’t make sense at a time of turbulent climate change and diminishing supplies of cheap oil, when many people are thinking of giving up their cars because of the rising expense. All of the 10 challenges listed in Shropshire’s LTP (Local Transport Plan) would be ameliorated by increased use of buses. The cuts will penalise the poor, the young, the infirm and vulnerable who won’t be able to do the 101 things that people travel to do, such as visit family or meet friends, or get to work, hospitals, or swimming, in the evening or on Sundays.’
The proposals don’t make a lot of sense either to Professor Les Lumsdon, who directs the Institute of Transport and Tourism at the University of Central Lancashire and who is a supporter of Ludlow21. He explained, ‘The Council is asking people to comment on essential journeys but for some people travel in the evening and Sundays is essential. They are using the bus to travel to or from work or, in some cases, travelling back from the railway station or hospital. Traders will lose out too at times when they need more business. Many bus passengers spend in shops, cafes and public houses and this money will be lost to our market towns and Shrewsbury at a time when the Council is spending to re-invigorate our High Streets. This is not joined-up thinking. Previous transport and tourism studies that I have undertaken indicate that a large proportion of passengers will simply stay at home if the bus is cut as they do not have ready access to a car.’ He added that it would have been helpful if the bus strategy had contained figures showing passenger numbers for every route (including Shropshire Link and South Shropshire Hills walkers’ buses which are excluded from the proposals) and whether routes are on an upward or downward trend, together with the extent of subsidy currently provided to each route.
The save our Shropshire buses campaign is urging people who use the 33 services listed to write or email the cabinet member responsible for recommending the cuts, Cllr Taylor-Smith, and their local councillor. They point out that in Herefordshire a different approach has been taken in order to protect bus services.
The full list of services mentioned by the Council strategy as likely to be affected are 1, 8A, 20, 25, 26, 63, 64, 70, 120, 132, 201, 202, 216, 217, 341, 342, 435, 436, 492, 501, 511, 524, 540, 552, 553, 576, 715, 731, 755, 815, Park & Ride (x3).
Transition Town Shrewsbury and Ludlow21 are looking for ‘route champions’ to nurture, support and develop their local bus route. They will be holding a public meeting to ‘save our Shropshire buses’ on Saturday 19th March in Shrewsbury’s Gateway Centre at 2pm when they also hope to form a Bus Users Group for Shropshire. Anyone concerned about losing their local service is invited to attend this public meeting. Prof Les Lumsdon will be a keynote speaker at the event.
END OF RELEASE
Further information for editors
Transition Towns are a network of local concerned volunteers who are working to help their towns face up to the challenge of climate change and life without cheap oil. They seek to substantially reduce use of oil by living sustainably for the long term. Using public transport, cycling and walking, shopping locally, working locally all help. Transition Town Shrewsbury is active in the fields of food, transport, energy, housing, education and behavioural change.
What is working towards lower oil dependency?
- Buses – (awareness , Arriva stopped)
- Rail hub, Baschurch and Oswestry Stations -> Marylebone
- Cycle Shrewsbury – 3 year funding
- Pedestrian Walkways & cycleways
- Compact – most people within walk/cycle distance of services
- Park and Ride – 3 sites
- Car park charges & no bypass! Narrow streets, 1 way
- School travel plans
- Electric charging points
- P & R compulsory at peak times
- Better bus network – frequency, routes, real time info and displays
- Improve image /perception of bus
- Low floor – all buses
- Awareness – timetables
- Electric buses
- Car clubs (pool cars)
- Reduce need /desire to travel
- Increase cost of car travel and ownership
- Reduce private car in Shrewsbury Centre
- Better bus station
- more cycle paths
- critical mass cycle routes
- Residential parking zones
- Low emissions zone – public transport – Shrewsbury Air Quality Management Area
- Congestion Charge
- 20 mph