‘Desperate’ plea for full reinstatement of Ludlow’s buses
An increase to a reduced bus service has been described as "inadequate" by a Shropshire councillor appealing to the public to lobby for its full return.
At the start of lockdown the 701 Ludlow Town bus service and the 722 Ludlow Park and Ride service were combined, and daily runs reduced, with the result that the number of buses fell from 30-a-day to six.
On Monday two extra daily runs were added to the service, however Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North, Andy Boddington, has said this is not enough.
"It’s getting desperate on the buses," he said. "At the beginning of lockdown, the Ludlow town bus service was cut from 30 trips a day to six. The 701 and 722 services were combined. The park and ride service shuddered to a halt.
"The bus still served the Eco Park but there were no park and ride customers. Why would anyone want to use a service that was at best hourly and had a three-hour gap over lunch? There is no park and ride service in the country that is so badly served.
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"From Monday, there will be two extra runs on the single town bus route, at 11am and 4pm. That gives eight buses-a-day with a two-hour gap at lunchtime. This is inadequate. It means the park and ride will still be unusable for visitors to our town.
"The low frequency still won’t serve the needs of residents. But I fear this will be the future of Ludlow bus services while Shropshire Council sees our town’s bus services as a cost not a public benefit."
Councillor Boddington is appealing to the public to lobby Shropshire Council for the full reinstatement of the pre-Covid-19 701 and 722 services.
"We are asking you to lobby Shropshire Council’s portfolio holder for transport, Steve Davenport, to get normal services reinstated," he said.
"Shropshire Council has long seemed unaware of how important bus services are to rural towns. Particularly towns with a high proportion of households without vehicles and a high proportion of elderly residents. Towns like Ludlow.
"I fear that the reduction in bus services will become permanent. We will be left with an hourly service with a route that takes park and ride users 30 minutes to travel one mile as the crow flies.
"A service at this level is an embarrassment to our town, an embarrassment to our county, a failure to support rural communities and their visitors."