Shropshire bus service facing the axe... again
A south Shropshire bus service which was reinstated after a campaign is back on the chopping block as funding is set to dry up next month.
The 490 service linking Leominster, Ludlow and the villages in between was cut back in 2014, leaving only school-run services, but a full service was reinstated in the summer of 2015 after a campaign by Bus Users Shropshire, Rail for Herefordshire and local councillors.
That now appears to have been a temporary reprieve, as the extra buses were made possible with money from the Rural Transport Fund, a grant which is set to stop at the end of March. Parish and town councils, including Ludlow Town Council, are being urged to step in to help fund the service at least until a review of the whole route to Hereford by Herefordshire Council in the autumn.
Vivienne Parry, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow South, called on Ludlow Town Council to join villages such as Richard's Castle and Orleton in pledging funds to keep the service running at a meeting on Monday evening.
The problem was also discussed at a public meeting called by Bus Users Shropshire in Ludlow on Monday.
Councillor Parry said following that meeting she had raised the issue once more with Ludlow Town Council, though no decision has been made by the authority as yet.
She said: "We need to look at this again. The parish council of Richard's Castle has pledged a subsidy of £2,000, and I'm told Orleton has pledged something similar, as well as other parishes across the border in Herefordshire.
"If they can do it I'm sure we can do it as well." She said the bus was a vital link both for people in outlying villages to get into town, and also for tourists staying in rural parts south of Ludlow.
"We want people to come into town to use our markets and shops," she said.
She said the service was also essential for people from Ludlow to go to Hereford, whether shopping or to visit Hereford County Hospital.
The 492 service between Ludlow and Hereford was cut back in 2014. Renamed the 490, the cut back bus service began to stop on the south Shropshire border, just five miles short of Ludlow, and turn back to Hereford.
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