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Dozens join Shrewsbury protest against bus service cuts - PICTURES and VIDEO

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Transport | Published: | Last Updated:

More than 100 bus users marched and chanted their way through the streets of Shrewsbury in a protest against proposed service cuts.

Protesters say no to cuts to bus services

Not even Storm Hannah could stop the protestors on Saturday morning who braved the freezing wind and rain to make their opinions known.

In a bid to save more than £450,000, Shropshire Council is proposing to cut bus services on the routes it is responsible for.

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WATCH: Highlights from the protest

Dozens join Shrewsbury protest against bus service cuts

Gwen Burgess, who organised the demonstration, said: "I'm really pleased to see so many people here for the protest considering the weather is so shocking but it just goes to show how important this is to people.

"I know there isn't an endless pot of money but Shropshire Council needs some imagination and good thinking to sort this out."

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Dozens of protesters gather to make their voices heard

The march, which was supervised by a police officer, started in The Square, went up Pride Hill and ended outside the bus station.

Many demonstrators brought homemade placards and banners.

Katie Elliott, from Grinshill, near Wem, said Shropshire Council is making people's lives a "misery".

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Campaigner brought placards and posters to get their message across

"There is already only one bus I can get on to go to Whitchurch and to get to Shrewsbury, and I already have to walk a mile to get to the bus stop," she said.

"And the council wants to reduce that service by 50 per cent from once an hour to every two hours. It's going to make it even more difficult for me to get to medical appointments or to do the shopping.

"These cuts will take away all of my social life. I'm the secretary of Whitchurch and Wem Senior Citizens Forum and we go on group trips at 8am but I won't be able to get there unless I get expensive taxis.

"They are making people's lives a misery."

The message was clear

Members of Bus Users Shropshire also joined the march.

The group is urging everyone to take part in the Shropshire Council bus consultation to make their opinions known.

Harold Bound said the group is focussing on five services in particular - the bus from Shrewsbury to Bishop's Castle, Shrewsbury to Oswestry via the villages, the 511 to Whitchurch which goes through Wem, Bridgnorth 436 and Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.

"We're very concerned about the main interurban services because it is vital there is good links between Shrewsbury and the market towns.

"We need to get as many comments as possible to the council for them to consider. After that we will go from there."

The authority also wants to change Shrewsbury's Park & Ride service by removing concessionary rates, increasing the fare from £1.60 to £2 per person, and scrapping the group ticket which allows up to five people to travel for £2.50.

A protest march makes its way from the Square in Shrewsbury to the bus station

John Brown from Shrewsbury said the council ought to be improving the Park & Ride so more people use it.

"They are going on at the moment about the environment but to improve that we must increase public transport, not decrease it," he said.

"It's so petty, I don't think they have through it through properly. I think the ones who makes the suggestions don't actually use the buses.

"This is the thin edge of the wedge and if you just lie down and accept it, they will keep cutting it and cutting it until there is nothing left. We must all make out opinions known."

Byron Grainger-Jones said the Park & Ride will be even more important in the future as the population of Shrewsbury grows.

"This service isn't just for tourists," he added. "As the town grows outwards, more and more residents will need to use it. All Shropshire Council thinks about is the cost."

The consultation ends on May 6

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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