Fears over ser­vices as £1.5M bus cuts planned

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

BUS users could be left stranded in the evenings and week­ends as the coun­cil plans to re­duce spend­ing, it has been warned.

Cheshire East Coun­cil sub­sidises bus routes which pri­vate op­er­a­tors do not deem as fi­nan­cially vi­able, in­clud­ing the less pop­u­lar ser­vices on Sun­days and in the evenings.

But coun­cil bosses have put forward plans to save £1.5 mil­lion a year from its bud­get by scrap­ping some sub­si­dies, mean­ing the pri­vate op­er­a­tors may choose to with­draw them com­pletely.

Among the routes that could lose their sub­si­dies are the num­ber 10 from Mac­cles­field to Bolling­ton, the num­ber 9 from Mac­cles­field to the Moss Rose and the num­ber 38 from Mac­cles­field to Crewe.

Coun Nick Man­nion, who rep­re­sents the Mac­cles­field West and Ivy ward, said: “I’m hor­ri­fied by this. It af­fects the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and leaves peo­ple in places like Bolling­ton and the We­ston aban­doned.

“We have an air pol­lu­tion cri­sis and are sup­posed to be en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to use public trans­port. This is not go­ing to help the re­gen­er­a­tion of the town and the night­time econ­omy. It’s com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.”

The num­ber 10 from Mac­cles­field to Bolling­ton could lose all coun­cil fund­ing for its evening and Sun­day ser­vices.

Also af­fected is the num­ber 9 from Mac­cles­field to the Moss Rose, which runs in the evenings and on Sun­days but could lose its Sun­day fund­ing. The num­ber 38 from Mac­cles­field to Crewe could lose its evening and Sun­day fund­ing.

Sun­day ser­vices on route 130 from Mac­cles­field to Wilm­slow and Manch­ester could no longer be sup­ported and Sun­day buses could be lost on the 58 route to Bux­ton and Bakewell as Cheshire East states it will ‘only con­trib­ute from Mon­day to Satur­day’.

All sub­si­dies could be stopped for the 99 bus be­tween Mac­cles­field and Con­gle­ton and there will be timetable changes to other routes.

Liz Wel­ton, chair­man of Ac­tiv­ity in Re­tire­ment in Mac­cles­field, said peo­ple should be en­cour­aged to use the bus. She said: “Many older peo­ple in Mac­cles­field rely on the buses and what about peo­ple com­ing to the Trea­cle Mar­ket on a Sun­day? There’s such lit­tle park­ing as it is.”

In a joint state­ment, Jane Munro and Deb­bie Quinn, who run the Trea­cle Mar­ket, said: “The con­ver­sa­tions and so­cia­bil­ity that hap­pen at Trea­cle are a small part of the wider glue that keep the town’s com­mu­ni­ties alive and thriv­ing.

“Com­mu­ni­ties don’t just hap­pen the rest of the week! Mac­cles­field is ac­tively seek­ing to boost its foot­fall, en­tice vis­i­tors and en­hance its cul­tural of­fer all week in­clud­ing Sun­days and evenings.

“The with­drawal of sup­port for public trans­port is fun­da­men­tal to the out­come and over­all suc­cess of this.”

The ser­vices af­fected are run by Ar­riva and High Peak.

A spokesman for Ar­riva, which runs bus ser­vices from Mac­cles­field, said the firm awaits the out­come of the pro­pos­als, adding: “We will need to take stock of the im­pact on our busi­ness and cus­tomers. Cur­rently we have no plans to op­er­ate more com­mer­cial ser­vices.”

High Peak did not re­spond to our re­quest for a com­ment.

A 10-week public con­sul­ta­tion into the pro­posal was rub­ber stamped by Cabi­net yes­ter­day (Tues­day, May 9).

Speak­ing at the meet­ing, Coun David Brown, deputy leader of the coun­cil and cabi­net mem­ber for High­ways and In­fras­truc­ture, said: “We spend £3.5m fund­ing bus ser­vices and are propos­ing to save £1.5m through a ser­vice re­view.

“I would urged res­i­dents, parish coun­cils and town coun­cils to have their say. We will look very closely at those re­sponses.

“The last thing we want is to pro­vide ser­vices that no one will ben­e­fit from.”

‘This is not go­ing to help the re­gen­er­a­tion of the town’

One of the Ar­riva buses

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