U-turn needed on cuts to public transport
We applaud Shrewsbury Town Council for declaring a climate emergency and pledging to make Shrewsbury carbon neutral by 2030.
If this is to be achieved, more people will need access to good quality, affordable public transport. Shropshire Council’s proposed cuts to local bus services will do exactly the opposite – a “retrograde step” as Councillor Alan Mosley has said.
The more services are cut, the less attractive they become. The result is a vicious cycle of cuts, reduced use, more cuts and further reduced use until there is no service left at all. In a time of climate breakdown, this makes no sense. Instead, investing in public transport is a win-win situation, with better, cheaper buses attracting more passengers and revenue, and fewer people forced to use their cars or getting left behind altogether.
Greater use of public transport reduces congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Jeremy Corbyn has described buses as “a lifeline for many, particularly the elderly and those in rural areas” such as ours. People using buses to work, visit and shop in Shropshire support the local economy too.
We are therefore delighted that, rather than cutting them, he has pledged to reverse Tory cuts to bus services, fund the expansion of new bus services, and introduce free bus travel for under 25s to encourage an increase in the use of public transport for the long term. Increased bus use will help combat air pollution and climate change impacts, address inequalities, and support local economies.
We call on Shropshire Council to reconsider their proposed bus service cuts.
Sue Batchelor, on behalf of Shrewsbury and Atcham Labour Party Women’s Forum
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