Moves to bring public transport under direct council control lose vote

Shropshire Council's administration says it is doing all it can to provide better public transport links for the county.

Moves to bring public transport under direct council control lose vote

A motion to the full council meeting from Councillor Rosemary Dartnall and supported by the Labour group for Shropshire to bring bus services in house and apply immediately to government for "Franchise Powers" to strengthen the local transport plan did not get the votes needed for it to go ahead.

Councillor Dartnall said Shropshire’s bus service was failing its residents.

"This failure is happening before our eyes at the very moment we need an effective integrated public transport and active travel system designed to drive down the number of car journeys in Shropshire. We have an outdated

bus network and it is under threat.

"Of course, there are problems: passenger numbers have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, fuel costs have increased and there is a shortage of drivers. We must act now."

"Arriva bus services, until recently commercially viable, are under notice and Shropshire’s bid for Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding was rejected by government. Of the threatened Arriva bus routes, some are now being subsidised by Shropshire Council in the short term, some face cancellation and some have been combined into other routes: beyond September, the future is very uncertain.

"The provider has the right to run or cancel any commercially viable service because the council does not have full control of our public transport."

The motion called for the development of a “One Public Transport Vision” for Shropshire and the application for Franchise Powers that would put the council in control of scoping, maintaining and improving public transport."

Councillor Chris Schofield said electric cars coming in would help deal with climate fears of using private transport.

"From what I can see buses in Oswestry go round and round the town centre almost empty."

Councillor Lezley Picton said that until the council was still in contract with Arriva.

She said the council was doing everything it could to improve public transport and said that it was already bidding for funding whenever bids could be made."

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