Council responds to bus services consultation with set of proposals


Cheshire East Council has responded to the borough-wide consultation on subsidised bus services with a set of proposals.

The proposals, which are to be discussed at the council's environment and regeneration scrutiny committee on Monday, 23rd October would save more than £1m from the council's budget.

Cheshire East received more than 3,900 replies to the consultation and has made changes its plans for services as a result.

The planned changes maintain weekday and Saturday services, though the council proposes to no longer support buses during evenings and on Sundays, as these are some of the least used of its subsidised services.

Local services affected by these proposals are:

88 – Altrincham – Wilmslow – Knutsford - which will be reduced to an hourly service. Services then extend to Macclesfield.

As a result of the consultation the following changes have been made

Timetable and frequencies remain as consulted upon but with the first service of the day from Knutsford to Altrincham retimed to allow passengers to arrive into Altrincham for 08:20am;

Retiming of first bus of the day to arrive into Altrincham for 07:10;

Retiming of the last bus of the day to leave Macclesfield at 17:45

200 - Wilmslow – Manchester Airport - service withdrawn

Hourly railway service from Styal Railway Station from May 2018.

130 - Macclesfield to Wilmslow to Manchester - Sunday services withdrawn.

The plans would also phase any changes to 'little bus', to provide a safety net for anyone who cannot get access to another local bus service.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communities, said: "Changing the way services operate is always a very complex issue. The council has weighed up the needs of all service users after our in-depth consultation.

"We have tried to strike the best possible balance between making savings and protecting vital services for residents."

Cabinet is due to consider a set of recommendations on the bus review at its meeting on Tuesday, November 7th.

Any changes to services would not take place before April 2018. After any changes, the council's proposals would mean that the authority would still be investing more than £2m per year in subsidised bus services.

88 Bus Service, Buses


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Howard Piltz
Friday 20th October 2017 at 7:55 am
Still no attempt made to promote bus services to local residents. Do Tesco or Sainsbury's promote? Advertise? 'Course they do! So why not bus services? "Buses are big red things, in the way, in MY way" that's what local residents think. The Council just think about cuts, cuts, cuts, please try investing to get an income like any commercial business would do.
Maureen Marner
Friday 20th October 2017 at 7:56 am
Living on Lacey Green among retired people our bus route is a very important lifeline. Taxis are not always affordable. So the 200 is extremely important. I speak on behalf of many residents at Anchor Court.
This route takes us to the train station which in turn helps us to travel to many other places.
We would be quite happy to pay ie £1 each journey to help..
Or is there talk of a Ring and Ride? ??
Thank you.
Kate Bennett
Friday 20th October 2017 at 8:10 am
'Retiming of the last bus of the day to leave Macclesfield at 17.45' ??? Is this a new route?
Friday 20th October 2017 at 8:14 am
Howard - they think about cuts telling us they could save more than a £1 million with these proposals at the same time as spending £33,000 on a magazine to promote themselves. You wouldn't run a household like that, why are they running a borough like?
Lisa Reeves
Friday 20th October 2017 at 9:39 am
Kate - the document prepared for the council's environment and regeneration scrutiny committee meeting states "Services then extend to Macclesfield" so I presume so. I have now added this to the above article.
Vince Fogharty
Friday 20th October 2017 at 10:34 am
What' s the point of promoting the bus services? Unless you are in a city environment they dont fit in with today's lifestyle and that's just fact. Locally the train service is more efficient and cheaper but we don't see the council spending money on subsidising that. If the buses were used then the bus companies would put on a commercial route, but they will never increase passengers around here, and I suspect we will see more cuts next year. Having a subsidised service during the day on these routes could be argued is needed due to some residents relying on them for getting about, but even those passengers dont use them very much, money is better spent on a "ring and ride" type service as in other towns.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 20th October 2017 at 10:54 am
Only Cheshire East can think you can "regenerate" something by cutting £1million from it.

Perhaps they can therefore "regenerate" themselves too?
Gemma Evans
Friday 20th October 2017 at 12:23 pm
The Macclesfield extension of the 88 route isn't a new service, it'll be a part replacement for the existing 27 Macclesfield-Chelford-Knutsford service which Cheshire East are withdrawing. Some 88 services will also extend to Northwich as the 289 Northwich-Altrincham service is also being withdrawn.
Richard Bullock
Friday 20th October 2017 at 12:37 pm
Kate, Lisa: If you look at the proposals document - the 88 is being merged with the 27/27A/27B (Macclesfield-Knutsford) and 289 (Northwich-Knutsford-Altrincham) routes to form route E1 (Altrincham-Wilmslow-Knutsford-Macclesfield) and E2 (Altrincham-Wilmslow-Knutsford-Northwich).

So the article probably ought to mention extension to Northwich as well - although it seems that services going to Northwich & Macclesfield will be only every 2 or 3 hours. On the indicative timetable some services stop at Knutsford then turn around much as the 88 does today.
Julie Lowe
Friday 20th October 2017 at 1:02 pm
Just another obscene waste of public money! Why bother consulting on matters that had already been decided? I can't believe that of 3900 responses no one mentioned services (or lack of) in Handforth! Yet no mention of them here apart from the 130 Sunday service which is still being axed! What a useless waste of time!
Gemma Evans
Friday 20th October 2017 at 4:01 pm
Re: Judie. The document says the following about Handforth:
"The withdrawal of the commercially operated 378 service represents a change in the coverage of the commercial
bus network. As set out in section 3, the 378 service has thus been evaluated using the needs-based criteria
methodology which has determined that the service would have been included in the Consulted Network if the
changes had taken place prior to the design of the network. Due to scoring below the threshold, the 378 service is
not recommended for inclusion in the Recommended Network"

Don't forget the Mon-Sat 130 services (which serve Handforth) are commercial so not part of the consultation. Under legislation introduced by the Conservatives the council are not allowed to provide subsided services which duplicate a commercial service, which in practice means some towns with subsided services get a better service than those with commercial services!
Richard Nolan
Saturday 21st October 2017 at 10:55 am
I suppose the cec will now be travelling round Lacey Green and
Surrounding area's pulling down bus stop signs and shelters,
that would rub salt into the wounds and hardship they have caused
all over Wilmslow and HANDFORTH by removing all transportation
Maybe CEC can share out the scrap metal value between them .###