Buses are vital to millions of people who require access to shops, doctors, hospitals, colleges, schools, work places or to visit friends and family.
This is more important in rural areas, villages and small towns than urban areas where many destinations are close at hand.
Sadly bus usage and the routes outside of London have seen a steady decline in the last 20 years or so and are not up to the task of supporting thriving villages and communities like those in rural Shropshire.
Funding has been halved in the last 8 years, leaving many places without public transport and making life very difficult for rural residents to get about easily.
Buses help reduce congestion by reducing the amount of cars on the road which also reduces pollution and reduces climate-damaging CO2 emissions.
They are vital to those who may not have their own transport or are not able to drive.
The project is based on a report comparing Shropshire with those countries and regions that really value their rural residents, support rural life and provide guaranteed high-quality rural buses.
These countries in particular are Sweden, Switzerland and Germany.
A copy of the report can be found on our media page.
For this project to succeed we need as many residents and parish councils as possible to let us know exactly what is needed in their parishes and small towns to improve bus services.
We cannot make this happen ourselves but we will use this information to set out a plan for the whole county over the next 10 years spelling out exactly what is needed. This plan will be the basis for presentations to councillors, government departments and government ministers.
Please send us your suggestions by emailing us
admin at shropshireruralbuses.org
Please replace the at with @
Transport for new homes
Shropshire like many council areas in England is under pressure to build new homes in locations that make it very difficult or impossible for residents to use buses. A very good example is Snatchfield in Church Stretton.
Snatchfield Farm, Snatchers Lane, Church Stretton (CST021)
- 29 Ha; Approximate capacity 70 dwellings
The development is not served by a bus route and there are no safe walking and cycling facilities to connect the 70 new homes with the town of Church Stretton or its railway station. If this development goes ahead it will lock travel choices into a car-dependent, carbon generating pattern that is contrary to the declaration of a climate emergency and damaging to the health of local residents.
All new housing should be designed to minimise car use and maximise walking, cycling and bus use.
There is a great deal of information on how to do this on the "transport for new homes" web site
New housing in the UK is too often built around car use, with residents having little choice but to drive for almost every journey. What are the specific elements that make up a non-car-dependent housing development? Transport for New Homes has produced a Checklist for new housing developments.
The Shropshire bus project strongly endorses the strong message in the checklist and we urge councillors and planners to avoid the Snatchfield car-dependency problem
Frequent public transport services must be in place from Day 1 of occupation
Notes from rural Sweden
John Whitelegg is spending a few weeks in rural Sweden continuing a research project started 2 years ago on bus service provision in rural Sweden and how it is organised and funded and why it is so much better than rural England generally and Shropshire specifically.
Today is a Sunday and I plan to visit the nearest small town (Järna).
I am now a regular user of the 784 and 785 SL bus and I have 8 buses to choose from (there are more on weekdays), the first is at 0940 and the last at 2223. They also run on public holidays and connect with trains.
How many buses are running on a Sunday to and from Bishop’s Castle, Craven Arms or Church Stretton?
The 784/785 has always been on time and yesterday it would have made a fantastic video. The driver was ultra considerate whenever he saw pedestrians anywhere near the roadside waiting to cross. He obeyed every speed limit and was friendly and helpful. The bus was warm and very comfortable
The bus is biodiesel
Why is this high level of efficient friendly service possible in rural Sweden and absent in Shropshire? How do we go about getting a bit of the Swedish DNA into Shropshire?
One of the improvements we would like to see for both operators and passengers is a new bus station.
The location if the current bus station is ideal compared to the old Barker street as it is as close as possble to the railway station and helps with connections between the 2 modes of transport.
The bus station does need improving for several reasons.
To make it more attractive to passengers. This is both in atmosphere and information available to them.
To help with easier access for those who are wheelchair bound as the current bus stands are outdated, very tight for them and the buses themselves getting in and out.
The photo above is of Truro bus station to show as a example of what a revamped bus station could look like.