To be perfectly honest I did not think that I would ever be writing a blog like this one, I genuinely thought that the rural bus network was in the hospice stage, clinging on to fading life support systems to keep it from passing over onto the other side. Indeed I cannot think looking back of any good news about the sad decline of the good old country bus service. It was sacrificed on the alter of austerity by the arbitrators of saving the Countries coffers after the bankers had managed to mess everything up.
Mr Osbourne then the Chancellor of the Exchequer made it very clear that the nation had to tighten its belt. So, that is what they did with Local Authority spending bearing the brunt of the Governments budgetary reforms. Budgets were slashed all over the place, things like libraries, youth clubs, community centres disappeared without trace, easy wins so they thought. Although they were to later have a crippling effect on the quality of life in those very same communities some years later, when dis affected youth no longer able to play ping pong at the youth club, busied themselves with selling hard drugs across county lines. In addition knife crimes escalated to such an alarming effect that president Trump famously declared that Birmingham City in theUK was a no go zone.
One of the first casualties however of the enormous cuts was the humble rural bus services. One of those little parts of British life that was not really appreciated nor understood, except of course by those whose very lives depended upon them. These bus services allowed people without cars to live a normal life, shopping, visiting friends, going to the doctors, you name on it the bus supplied it. Until of course such time as it was simply abandoned, yet another casualty of the world recession and the greed that lay behind it.
Before long some Local Authorities had no rural bus networks left at all, people had to make their own solutions, and as a result inevitably car ownership went up, in addition local people were inventive as community pubs and shops were set up to provide local solutions internally. However it has been apparent since 2008, when the balloon went up, that like many other aspects of rural life, the humble village bus would fade from memory and slide from memory into oblivion.
At least, so I thought until I stumbled by accident upon a little story late on the BBC local Midlands news which revealed that Shrewsbury County Council had reversed a scheme to scrap the funding for rural bus services. Originally, they had planned on chopping all the money needed to retain the last of the rural bus networks. But, no, local protests and well organised campaigns managed to persuade the local politicians to reverse the decision and reinstate the budget to keep the network alive, and provide that all important life line for those who live in the countryside. So, hats off to those who voted to buck the trend, I take my hat off to you, although sadly I do not think that I will see any other similar examples any time soon. But, you know me dear reader I was born an optimist.