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Shropshire Council in U-turn on bus cuts plan

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

Shropshire Council has bowed to public pressure and scrapped plans to make drastic cuts to bus services.

Protesters say no to cuts to bus services

The authority has done a U-turn on its initial proposals to save £405,000 from its public transport budget.

Following an extensive public consultation, it is now looking to save just £180,000 by making the existing services more effective.

However, it is still proposing to save £50,000 from the Shrewsbury Park & Ride.

Councillor Simon Harris, deputy portfolio holder for highways and transport, said the council has listened to the overwhelming response from the public.

"This consultation came as a bit of a surprise to me when I first took over as it was already on the cards," he said.

"But over the past few months, with some hard work, we have come up with a new report and a way of not going through with these budgets cuts by altering the way that we work.

"The last time anyone had a go at changing this was 1986, so we went out to consultation and people have come up with their own phenomenal ideas which we are going to look at."

Some routes will still be affected, however, the council will make a final decision towards the end of the year.

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Steve Brown, Shropshire Council's interim assistant director of communities and infrastructure, said: "Through the consultation, some groups pointed out where efficiencies could be made. They came up with suggestions that we think we ought to look at and pursue.

"We have come up with a valuation that if we do more detailed work, it will guarantee savings of up to £200,000.

"Some services will remain, some will be reduced, some will have a change of vehicle but we can't guarantee that some services will not cease."

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The council will have to find the shortfall in its future spending budgets, Mr Brown confirmed.

He added: "The council needs to be aware of its social obligations. It's important to balance it on the feedback from the consultation and its overall budgets."

Despite the feedback from the public, and a protest in Shrewsbury town centre earlier this year, the council is still planning to go forward with its changes to the town Park & Ride.

The fare will go up from £1.60 to £2 and the group ticket option, which allows up to five passengers to travel for £2.50 return, will be removed.

The report also suggests removing the discretionary discount for concessionary fares on the Park & Ride which allows passengers with a concessionary card to travel for a 50 per cent discount.

If the council's cabinet agree to the changes at a meeting on Wednesday, the new Park & Ride fares will come into effect from September 1.

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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