Over 100 local people were at a meeting at Radbrook Community Centre on Wednesday and protested about the proposal to remove the route 20 bus service in just two weeks' time. (22 April)
Addressing the meeting Cllr Lemon said "There has been no information about this on the buses or at bus stops. When people hear about it they are shocked and we have received more emails and phone calls than on any issue since we were elected. Obviously Radbrook should have a bus service – it's the largest ward in Shrewsbury and is growing rapidly. The existing bus service is used by people going to work and pupils going to school. In addition, people visit Radbrook Centre for the surgery, supermarket and other services.
Shropshire Council bosses are far too car-focussed and just assume that everyone can get in a car if there' s no bus – this is just not the case; there are many who don't have access to a car, including young people and some with disabilities. Others choose not to use a car for short local journeys and we want to encourage this for the sake of reducing congestion and air pollution.
Bus passenger numbers have been down during the pandemic but many have told us that they are starting to use the bus regularly again."
Cllr Julia Evans, who was kept away from the meeting by Covid, said "Since hearing about this I have contacted the Shropshire Council leader and transport portfolio holder, to pass on the concerns of residents. Everyone we have spoken to has their own story: For instance the elderly residents of Radbrook House often choose to live here because of the easy access to a regular bus service. Meanwhile our youngest constituents at the local nursery go by bus into town for outings to the library or the castle. Some children have never before been on a bus and the trips are fun as well as educational."
The councillors are pressing Shropshire Council to find a way of continuing the bus service after 22 April and to use whatever influence they have with Arriva. They say that people will lose access to social activities and in some cases possibly their jobs. The problems of isolation will become worse again and have impacts on mental and physical health.