Shropshire MP urges bus company not to close Oswestry depot

A Shropshire MP has written to one of the county's bus operators urging it not to close one of its depots.

Helen Morgan MP has written to Arriva bosses urging them to keep the Oswestry depot open
Helen Morgan MP has written to Arriva bosses urging them to keep the Oswestry depot open

Arriva announced in February that it was consulting with employees on closing its Oswestry depot, saying the loss-making base has been "hit hard" by the change of travel behaviours since the Covid pandemic.

The bus company said that customer journeys would be "largely unaffected" with the closure as the main bus routes operating from site would transfer across to the firm’s Shrewsbury and Wrexham depots.

However, North Shropshire MP, Helen Morgan, has now written to the commercial director at Arriva, Andrew Godley, and urged him to reconsider the plans.

She said: "I was extremely disappointed to learn of Arriva’s proposals to close the bus depot in Oswestry and I urge the company to reconsider.

"Bus services are crucial for connecting rural communities and ensuring that people without access to a private car are able to reach high streets, hospitals, pharmacies and other local services.

"I appreciate the financial impact that Shropshire Council’s cuts to bus funding have had on Arriva and service providers across the county, and will be raising this directly with the local authority.

"However, if passenger numbers are to increase then the public must be assured that they will be served by regular, reliable, local services.

"I fear that removing the Oswestry depot will reduce the quality of services in the area, several of which have already been criticised as unreliable by local users in recent times."

The Liberal Democrat MP then requested a meeting with Arriva to discuss the proposed closure.

Her appeal comes as the MP spoke during a debate in Parliament this week, highlighting how cuts to bus services have affected residents across North Shropshire.

It also comes as her Bus Services Bill is due for its second reading in the House of Commons next week. If voted through, it would ensure market towns and nearby villages are served by bus services that ensure residents are able to reach key services such as GP surgeries, schools and onward connections.

Helen Morgan said: "People without cars are being stranded across Shropshire because of cuts to buses and the lack of public transport here.

"More buses are needed to connect patients with doctors, shoppers with high streets and students with schools. But Shropshire Council has slashed the subsidies it pays providers and the Government has refused all of the county’s bids for bus funding.

"Their failure to invest is punishing communities and stalling the rural economy.

"It is therefore particularly disappointing that Arriva is threatening to shut the Oswestry depot and I hope that the company reconsiders for the sake of the depot workers and anyone who wants to get around our county."

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