Big revamp planned for Shrewsbury Park and Ride

A planned overhaul of Shrewsbury’s park and ride service would include interchange hubs and new routes taking in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Theatre Severn, Flaxmill and Shrewsbury Business Park.

 Harlescott Park and Ride
Harlescott Park and Ride

Senior councillors have backed the project – and revealed that a similar model could be used to create a park and ride service for Oswestry.

Electric buses and shorter waiting times could all form part of the new service, branded ‘Shrewsbury Connect’.

Each park and ride site would include indoor seating areas, a cafe, toilets, ticket machines and electric vehicle charging points.

Shropshire Council’s cabinet met on Monday to formally launch the project, which will now go through a period of consultation to pin down details such as new fares and routes.

James Willocks, transport commissioning manager, told cabinet members the current park and ride service was launched in 1994 and was in need of a revamp to transform it into a modern service.

Under the proposals, three routes distinguishable by different coloured buses would operate out of the existing park and ride sites, though the Oxon site could be relocated.

The three routes would converge in the town centre and share multiple stops allowing passengers to switch, meaning people could park at any of the three sites and get to any stop in town.

Mr Willocks said: “The park and ride at the moment, using Meole as an example, it doesn’t tend to stop anywhere. It tends to just stop in the middle of the town itself.

Ambition

“We have done some resarch on some of the best practice in the country and it’s pretty clear that, if we are going to have our park and ride transform into a service that works beyond the current period of time, it needs to do more than it’s doing at the moment – and that key is connection.

“The ambition is to work towards a system that allows people to interchange in the town centre at all the park and ride stops to gain access to one of the other park and ride services.

“There is lots of work to do and we are looking for that mandate from cabinet and support to take foward all the work that’s necessary to realise that vision and shape it, based around people’s views.”

Councillor Steve Charmley, portfolio holder for assets and economic growth, said he “fully supported” the project. He added: “It’s something we are looking to replicate in Oswestry through the Future Oswestry Group, albeit on a smaller scale.”

Members unanimously agreed to launch the project, with future reports to come back before cabinet for approval as the scheme progresses.

Mr Willocks’ report said the Oxon site was not currently seen as being in a suitably strategic location and suggested an alternative location would provide better links to the hospital.

Passengers boarding at any interchange would have the choice of purchasing a line ticket, allowing them to use the service as before by only accessing stops on their route, or a connect ticket for use on any of the three routes.

A ‘North Connect’ Line would travel out of the Harlescott site, ‘South Connect’ out of Meole Brace and ‘West Connect’ out of the site currently at Oxon.

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