Shropshire’s publicity trial brings 5% more passengers

Improved publicity for an Arriva Midlands route in Shropshire has helped generate a 5% increase in ridership.

The trial, initiated by Bus Users Shropshire (Publicity Matters, September), ran for six months from 14 May. The group worked with Arriva and Shropshire County Council to publicise route 576 (Shrewsbury-Oswestry), which links two attractive destinations, offers a scenic country ride and is frequent enough to allow passengers to hop on and off en route and take local walks from intermediate villages.

‘The current proposal being considered by Shropshire Council is to cut the bus support budget by £405,000 in 2019,’ says Bus Users chairman Harold Bound. ‘This project shows that there is another way to reduce the cost to the council, simply by marketing them more effectively. Getting the community behind their service, offering additional timetable information and a drip feed of promotion were the key ingredients and we managed to get more people on board.’

The group says all parish and town councils have a role to play in promoting their local bus service as a community asset. It also argues that Shropshire Council should review its lacklustre approach to publicity.