Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, is urging local people to take part in a consultation regarding local bus services between Liverpool and Chester operated by Stagecoach. The consultation runs until midday on 24th June and is consulting on the number 1, 2, 22 and X8 bus routes.
Mr Madders has been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned that changes to the current service will leave them without adequate public transport.
One of the proposed changes would mean that the number 22 will no longer serve Arrowe Park Hospital or Moreton and will instead operate via Irby and Greasby to West Kirby, but details of the proposals for the other bus routes have not been published.
Justin Madders said:
“I am very concerned that local bus users are not being given a fair opportunity to have their say about these vital local services.
“If Merseytravel and Stagecoach are considering changes to these routes, why not set their proposals out clearly for all to see and widely advertise that the consultation so that as many bus users as possible get a say in decisions that will directly affect them?
“Local bus services have already been cut to an unacceptable level. The proposed change to the number 22 bus could leave Neston residents unable to access Arrowe Park Hospital which is very concerning for both hospital workers and patients alike. And if further cuts to services go ahead, it could leave many residents in Great Sutton, Hope Farm, Whitby and Strawberry areas with little to no public transport, and unable to access the Countess of Chester Hospital from the town.
“Government cuts to bus budgets have already caused the North West to lose a quarter of its bus network in the last ten years and fares have risen faster than wages, whilst bus companies across the country have pocketed £1.5bn in profits. To reverse the decline of local bus networks we need to reregulate our buses, so they are run for people not profit.
I am meeting the Managing Director of Stagecoach next week when I will be expressing my displeasure with the way this matter has been dealt with so far.”
Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said:
“It is concerning that Merseytravel and Stagecoach are considering changes to these vital services. The Labour administration will do all that it can to ensure vital transport links are protected, particularly for our most vulnerable residents. Many residents rely on the 22 service to reach Arrowe Park Hospital. We will work to explore what we can do to mitigate the loss of this vital link and would encourage as many residents as possible to respond to the consultation.”