Extra Ludlow bus service aims to allay fears

Park and Ride buses will run every half hour in a town after a second service was introduced by council chiefs.

The extra bus running between Ludlow town centre and the Park and Ride site at the town's Eco Park has been brought in to allay fears that shoppers and tourists could be put off visiting the area.

It comes ahead of a public meeting to discuss bus services in Ludlow on Saturday, which was called by Shropshire councillors Viv Parry and Tracey Huffer after previous operators R&B Travel said it would no longer run the service due to significant losses.

The final R&B buses ran on Saturday and a temporary service managed by Shropshire Council and Minsterley Motors started yesterday.

Under the new arrangements, both the 701 and 722 services will run in the town, meaning buses will be available every 30 minutes.

Initially only the 701 service was being preserved, which would have meant buses running every hour.

The full timetable for both services has been published on Shropshire Council's website.

Councillor Claire Wild, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "For the users, having the full service was clearly important and I have heard many concerned residents voicing concerns about potentially not having these routes.

"We've had to work quickly to put these plans in place but I'm very happy to say we've been able to do it.

"Last week we announced the first step – the emergency plans ensuring there would be a service – and I hope now that these full arrangements will further ease the worried minds of the residents."

She said had been concerned Ludlow residents had not been given a full explanation of the bus situation and "rumours and misinformation" had been circulating, she said.

But Shropshire Council had been legally barred from making formal arrangements for a replacement service until given a stop date for the commercial service, which was only confirmed by the Traffic Commissioner on Wednesday last week.

She said the full timetable on Shropshire Council's website would replace the "emergency cover" one issued on Thursday.

Both buses are running this week, provided by Minsterley Motors under a contract from Shropshire Council, with low steps for disabled access.

Councillor Huffer said: "We're pleased because the half hourly service is something we were pushing for.

"My main concern now is that Shropshire Council is going to pay a fair price when it does go out to tender, so that we can have a viable service and the operator will be able to survive."

The public meeting organised by Councillor Parry and Councillor Huffer will be held at the Women's Centre on Church Street, Ludlow, at 2pm.

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