Following the piece about bus services on the Audlem website, personally, we rarely need to use the bus, but we talk to many people visiting Audlem by boat. Some rely on buses when they reach towns and villages, in order to:
- shop for things not available close to the canal
- get to a train station to meet new crew members, or go home after their holiday
- go to the hospital, or optician, vet etc.
We therefore think that boaters' needs may be somewhat different from those of Audlem residents, and of course a large proportion of Audlem's economy comes from the canal.
Realistically, most local shops could not survive without the boats, so we should pander to boaters' needs to some extent. Remember that it's a long trek from the canal into the town at both Market Drayton and Nantwich, so Audlem is a popular spot to stop at.
Back to the buses, people tell us that they are looking for:
- a predictable, regular (not necessarily over-frequent service), at the same minutes past each hour, or even every other hour
- buses to Nantwich, Whitchurch, but above all to Market Drayton (because it's closest, and there's a vet, good supermarket and a DIY store just off Cheshire Street/Adderley Road, the route the bus would take)
- easy access to Leighton Hospital
- buses direct to Crewe railway station (presumably via Nantwich, not Wybunbury/Shavington)
One problem is that the bus stops in The Square are either not marked at all, or if they are, they are confusing, so we have to tell people where to wait for their bus. There's no sign outside The Lord Combermere for buses to Nantwich – and confusingly, the odd bus for Nantwich seems to go the wrong way (it departs from the Buttermarket, heading past the Post Office towards Buerton). So, better signage is needed. Residents have worked it out, but visitors report that they find this difficult.
It would be helpful to have bus timetable leaflets in our canal shop, and next time the large maps at the canal wharf and in the car park are updated, could bus stops (and post and phone boxes) be indicated.
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