Bus users in Ellesmere Port & Neston were dealt a blow this week, when they learned of plans by the operator Aintree Coaches to withdraw the 272 service between the two towns, as well as the number 7 service connecting Overpool and parts of Great Sutton to Ellesmere Port town centre.
Justin Madders MP has worked with local groups to set up petitions against the changes and is encouraging residents to sign and demonstrate their support for the services. He is also seeking an urgent meeting with the operator and will ask them to reconsider their “hasty” decision.
The loss of the 272 service, which links Ellesmere Port and Neston, via Hooton station would have a severe impact on a range of groups. A number of young people from Neston who go to college in Ellesmere Port would be impacted, as would those commuting to Liverpool or Ellesmere Port for work. Older people who travel between the dispersed communities of Hooton, Willaston, Childer Thornton, Little Sutton and the leisure and retail opportunities in Ellesmere Port would also be impacted.
Meanwhile, the withdrawal of the number 7 would leave many older people isolated, as they would find it much more difficult and expensive to access shops, banks and health service. The campaigners argue that this is an area that is continuing to see a high level of housing development, which over time is likely to improve the viability of the service.
Commenting, Justin Madders MP said:
“Aintree Coaches have benefited from loyal customers using these routes for years, so it is deeply concerning that they have decided to unilaterally withdraw the services without any consultation. As the local Member of Parliament, the first I heard was when I resident told me they had been informed by a bus driver – this is completely unacceptable.
“These services provide a lifeline to the communities that they serve and terminating them in this way will cause people to lose their jobs, their training and their access to vital services.
“This decision has been made in an unduly hasty way, so I am calling on the operator to urgently think again and look at whether anything can be done to improve viability and save the routes. I hope that people will join with me in demonstrating their opposition to these proposals.”
The 272 petition can be accessed here: https://www.change.org/p/aintree-coaches-save-the-272-bus
The 7 petition can be accessed here: https://www.change.org/p/aintree-coaches-save-the-7-bus-in-ellesmere-port