Rarely does something new appear on the service front, but recently I’ve been involved in two interesting developments. The first involves Telford, which despite receiving no BSIP funding, was concerned that there were deficiencies in its local bus network. Many factories work a three-shift system which the bus network did not cover. Dial-a-ride was seen as a glorified taxi service and poor value for money. Using a combination of Section 106 payments, moving schoolchildren onto public buses and some new money, Telford devised four routes – two rural services, one for workers and one designed to fill other network gaps.
The whole operation requires seven buses, six provided by Chaserider and one by Select. The services were carefully designed not to abstract passengers from existing services, so they don’t serve Telford Town Centre Bus Station, the hub of the main network. There is a maximum £2 fare. Use has been above the council’s expectations, with the main 100 service carrying over 200 passengers a day. On the rural services which replaced DRT, patronage already exceeds the previous operation.