Shropshire Star

Residents in Market Drayton fear isolation due to lack of bus services

Residents have told of their 'dread' at being isolated due to the lack of bus services in Market Drayton.

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Lezley Picton, Leader of Shropshire Council.

Shropshire Council leader Lezley Picton addressed residents' questions and concerns at a public engagement session in the town, with worries over public transport at the top of the agenda.

She discussed proposals around the town's access to public transport, as well as sports provision and the preservation of Walkmill Meadows.

The issue of access to public transport – particularly the lack of bus services to and from the town – has been a hot topic of conversation in Market Drayton recently.

It comes after Arriva announced changes to its services due to suffering a reduced demand for buses since the pandemic, including a revised timetable of the 64 bus which runs through Market Drayton.

Market Drayton Bus Station. Photo: Google.

Councillor Picton said: “My Meet the Leader event in Market Drayton today was the busiest one yet. Over the two hours local councillor Ian Nellins and I spoke to 15 people.

“Whilst there, people were also able to take a look at our proposals for improving transport, travel and public spaces in the town – a consultation which is open until early next month.

"And I encourage local people to take part and share their thoughts. We’ve gathered so much information which has been carefully noted down and will be actioned as appropriate.”

Now, residents have begun to share their personal struggles with the public transport to and from Market Drayton, which is having an impact on their day-to-day life."

Melissa Humphries, from Tern Hill, is a single mother of a teenage daughter, who has been relying on the bus service since she was a teenager.

She said: "The bus service is in such disarray it’s hard to actually plan life around the buses. I am an insulin dependent Type 2 diabetic, for all my sins, and my doctors is in Hodnet.

"This worries me as even though I am learning to drive, there is no guarantee I will pass my test, nor that even if I do pass I’ll be able to afford a car.

"I’m not suggesting that me walking to and from work is a big problem at the current moment, but it will become one if I want to advance, and start working later or earlier shifts.

"Another concern is getting to my doctors for blood works which I need regularly to makes sure my medication is still working, and that I don’t in fact well, die.

"I know of a few more people who are just like me who don’t drive and are feeling the dreaded sensation of being stuck in Market Drayton.

"As beautiful as our town is, it’s not mentally healthy to see the same place day in and day out. Mental health will take a rapid decline, I am sure of that."

Melissa also raised concerns for young people potentially missing out on experiences by not being able to get to neighbouring towns, to see friends or be young adults.

She said that the town needs a service to Telford and Whitchurch – a service that connects people again, which she believes would be used by many.

Jenny Marsh had a similar view and added: "It was recently said to me that Market Drayton is isolating itself from its neighbouring towns i.e Wem, Whitchurch.

"I hadn't thought about it before but they are right and it's because we have no train stations no transport to or from our neighbouring towns. People are so isolated here.

"Especially those who are limited to Market Drayton for jobs due to not being able to drive or afford to drive."

Market Drayton town centre

Anthony Giorgino, who lives in Market Drayton, has family living in Stoke-on-Trent and has to catch a bus every other Friday to collect his daughter from school.

He shared his concerns about the lack of services, particularly if he needed to rush to a family member in a medical emergency, or missed a service and was stuck with a child in his care.

Councillor Roy Aldcroft of Market Drayton Town Council said: "There is no doubt that public transport is a high priority for the leader of Shropshire Council particularly after comments received on Thursday.

"We were all disappointed by the government's inability to support this rural county's bid for its Bus Back Better funding, which Shropshire Council Officers and councillors worked very hard to achieve a resolution to this rural county and its rail, bus and taxi challenges.

"We were also involved in the consultation on the Connectivity for Market Drayton project looking at cycling, walking and local bus routes in addition to street improvements.

"Shropshire Council had a busy day in Market Drayton looking at ways to improve and promote the Town for the future."

Patricia Allan, from Edgmond, said: "I recently attended Shrewsbury hospital and it took me nearly four hours to get there via Telford.

"I am nearly 80 years of age and currently walk to Newport and if loaded with shopping, I get a taxi back.

"How much longer I am going to be fit enough to walk, I don’t know. There are many elderly people in the village who used to depend on the bus, it was a lifeline."