Free Saturday bus travel for Oswestry passengers

Free bus travel will run in Oswestry town centre on Saturdays.

Oswestry bus station
Oswestry bus station

Town councillors agreed to the scheme at their annual meeting on Wednesday providing a grant to cover the cost of the fares one the 400, 402/3/4 services.

Now the town hopes to work with bus operation, Tanat Valley, and Shropshire Council, which commissions the service, to see if routes and times need to be changed to attract more passengers.

The funding will comes from a sustainable travel pot of money set aside by the council.

Speaking at Wednesday's meeting Councillor Mike Isherwood said: "It is really great to see such enthusiasm from the bus operator and realise how on board they are withthe scheme. It show good signs for a great working partnership."

At report to the meeting said the future of the bus service had been on hold pending the outcome of Shropshire Council's application for a government grand in its Bus Back Better bid. Unfortunately, the application from Shropshire Council was not successful the report said but this could be viewed as an opportunity for the Town Council to encourage a design or adjustment to the current service to help ensure it meets the needs of current and potential users.

Town clerk Arren Roberts said: "This is the start of a journey to look at where and when the buses should run."

Councillors have instructed the Town Clerk to meet with Shropshire Council to discuss the possibilities of reconfiguring the existing provision, with the unitary authority still the responsible body for the contract.

The town council held a pilot scheme on the three Saturdays before Christmas offering free travel on the town centre services.

There were an average of 110 passengers eachSaturday and with many already travelling for free the cost to the council was £151.

Councillors hope that having the service running for the rest of the year will change people's mind set about going into town on Saturdays.

Oswestry Business Improvement District has also relaunched the night bus it ran over Christmas providing free buses to bring people into the town centre from outlying residential areas and some villages in the evening.

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