Rural isolation warning as Shrewsbury to Newport bus service is axed
Rural isolation could increase as a result of the cancellation of a Saturday bus service between Shrewsbury and Newport, it has been warned.
Campaigners are already working with Arriva and Telford & Wrekin Council to try and replace the 519 bus, which Arriva said is no longer financially viable.
Over the last year, Ercall Magna, Edgmond, Waters Upton and Tibberton parish councils have funded the service, but the extra funding is no longer available to maintain it.
Under the plans, the final Saturday 519 will be run on December 21.
In a statement, the Telford Bus User Group said the service in the week had improved under the updated timetable, which will begin in January.
But it says it will continue working to maintain the Saturday service.
"The reason the parish councils had fought to maintain the 519 Saturday service was because they perceived the loss of this service to be the start of a slippery slope to further curtailment of rural transport services," it said.
"This ‘cut’ could be the start of that slippery slope for the 519, resulting with nothing more than a school bus service and no other services between those run times.
"It equally doesn’t bode well for our future carbon footprint issues, when people are being urged to reduce their individual transport use and take up public transport, as there won’t be any useful alternative to be had.
"This decision is creating rural isolation where residents are not able to visit relatives locally, or in a care home or hospital, or simply able to go shopping at the weekend."
The group said the latest review for the weekly timetable took the views of bus users into consideration, and met most of the needs.
"We do feel sorry for those people who rely to it on a Saturday, but we haven't given up," the group said.
"We are still in discussions with Telford &Wrekin Council and Arriva to see if there's an alternative."
Jamie Crowsley, Arriva General Manager for Shropshire, said: “The Saturday service on route 519 has been supported by a partnership of local parish councils since December 2018.
"Following the withdrawal of this support the Saturday service will unfortunately no longer be commercially viable, and the last Saturday in operation will be on December 21.
"Monday to Friday services will be continue to be operated commercially and will have a revised timetable from the January 6, 2020.”