Shropshire Star

Council hopes government officials' bus trip visit will mean the next stop is extra funding

Officials from the Department for Transport have visited Shropshire to find out more about Shropshire Council’s new on-demand bus service – and about the council’s plans and aspirations for improving public transport across the county.

Officials from the DfT with Shropshire Councillors and officers, and one of the Connect On-Demand buses. Picture: Shropshire Council

The council hopes that the visit on Thursday February 1 will increase Shropshire’s chances of securing additional transport funding from the DfT in the future.

After meeting with Shropshire Councillors and officers, the DfT team took a ride on the new Connect On-Demand service, which began operating in December 2023.

During their visit they also met representatives from Shropshire’s Enhanced Bus Partnership, including Shropshire’s Community Transport consortium and Bus Users Shropshire.

Councillor Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public transport, said: “We were really pleased to welcome the DfT officials to Shropshire.

"It’s great that they were able to find out more about the new Shropshire Connect On-demand service, and also to try it for themselves.

“They were also keen to see these aspirations developed as part of our Bus Service Improvement Plan, which is the gateway to future funding from the department."

He added: "They have acknowledged that we are in a really good position with our plans, and that we have completed all the planning that they would expect.

"Of course that doesn’t mean we will get additional funding, but it certainly puts us in the conversation, which is the right side of the fence to be.”

Operated by Shropshire Council, Shropshire Connect On-Demand was officially launched on December 4, last year, initially in two zones, and with plans in place to expand the service on a on a zone-by-zone basis.

It has replaced the 544 (Shrewsbury to Lyth Hill) and 546 (Shrewsbury to Pulverbatch) bus services.

It’s also providing links to the new residential developments at Oteley Road in Shrewsbury, not previously served by public transport.

Under the new service people can book a journey using the Connect On-demand app – or by phone by calling 0345 678 9013 between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday. They can choose where they wish to be picked up, and when, and where they want to be dropped off.

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