Call ahead of park and ride protest march in Shrewsbury
A cafe owner in Shrewsbury has issued a final rallying call ahead of a protest march over a proposed hike to park and ride charges.
Gwen Burgess, of Darwin’s in Shoplatch, said she was “dismayed” by Shropshire Council’s planned increase in ticket prices for the service.
She said the proposed increase from £1.60 to £2 per person and the scrapping of a £2.50 group ticket for up to five people would mean fewer people shop in Shrewsbury.
She said she was hoping dozens of people will join her for the protest march which starts in The Square at 11am tomorrow.
She said: “I know there is not an unlimited pot of money and cuts have to be made but I am really dismayed by these proposals.
“They are part of wider proposed cuts to bus services across Shropshire, but my main worry is the changes to park and ride in Shrewsbury.
“As a town centre business this is a real worry for me. The increase in a single ticket price is big enough, but to scrap the group ticket is just going to stop families coming into town.
“What are you going to do if you are a family? Spend a tenner on the park and ride to come into town or go elsewhere? I am worried it will be elsewhere.”
Ms Burgess said her biggest complaint was the council outlining that park and ride was such a good value service when changes were made to car parking prices last year.
“They told us then that the park and ride service was so good and good value that it wouldn’t have an impact on footfall,” she said.
“But now they are proposing to change this as well and I am really worried it is going to have a major impact on town centre business.
“I would urge anybody who is affected by this to come along to the march. It is against all the proposed bus changes, not just park and ride and you will be made very welcome.”
Ms Burgess said there are reasons why people are not using buses so much.
“Shropshire Council says these proposed changes are in response to a drop in the number of people using them,” she said.
“Perhaps they need to look at the reason why that is the case. Is it because of a reduction in evening and Sunday services compared to what we used to have?
“Is it because it is a less reliable and less frequent service? These buses are a lifeline for many.”
Shropshire Council said the proposals are still in the consultation stage.
It said its financial strategy for 2019/20 includes a budget reduction of £405,000 in public transport and £50,000 for Shrewsbury Park & Ride.
It urged people to have their say by visiting: https://shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/reduction-of-local-bus-service-subsidies-financial-year-201920/ by May 6.