Updated: Saturday bus service at risk


An application has been submitted to de-register the Saturday service for the 130 bus route which is subsidised by Cheshire East Council.

Following Arriva North West's withdrawal from running the 130 bus between Macclesfield and East Didsbury, D&G Bus stepped in to operate a reduced service from from Macclesfield to Handforth only which commenced on January 27th.

Initially the new service was was only going to operate on Monday to Friday, but Cheshire East Council agreed to subsidise an hourly service on Saturdays, starting from 1st February at a cost of £22,360 per annum.

The Saturday service, like the weekday service, has been running from Macclesfield to Handforth (via Alderley Edge and Wilmslow) and back to Macclesfield.

However, based on their experience of operating the Saturday service to date, D&G have applied to de-register it.

Deputy Leader Councillor Craig Browne said "This is disappointing, as on two of the Saturdays since they took over, the route was affected by flooding and this clearly had a knock-on impact on passenger numbers.

"The good news is that as the 130 is already a supported service on Saturdays, Cheshire East Council now has an opportunity to re-tender and speak to other companies interested in delivering the service on our behalf. At this point in time, the Council remains confident that an alternative provider will express interest and that the Saturday service will continue."

He added "In parallel with this, I am currently exploring options to increase the frequency of the 130 service through a mechanism known as a "Quality Bus Partnership" and will provide further details on this over the course of the next few weeks."

Updated: 1.30pm 11th March

Chris Almond, Bus Network Manager at D&G Bus Ltd, said Cheshire East Council and Transport for Greater Manchester are working
together on a revised service 130, although details of this are not available yet as various options are still out to tender.

"The current timetable will remain in place until 2nd May, and any changes will be posted on our website once they have been decided upon."

130 Bus Service


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

Howard Piltz
Wednesday 11th March 2020 at 1:57 pm
Unfortunately the Saturday service carries plenty of fresh air but very few passengers. I would rather my taxes are used better. Extension to Cheadle would be very useful with plenty of onward connections, Current pressures for further extensions to Parr’s Wood seems unnecessary.
John Clegg
Wednesday 11th March 2020 at 4:20 pm
We can't go back to 1986 to prevent de-regulation of 'bus services.
However, it shows that we have been conned over the years that services can be treated as competitive, for-profit businesses.

What next?
Russell Young
Thursday 12th March 2020 at 1:03 pm
Extending the service to Cheadle would require an extra bus if the current level of service was to be maintained. That extra resource would be wasted with just an extension to Cheadle. It would have about 35 mins time sitting around which could be used effectively. Parrs Wood remains the most attractive option for onward connections via bus, rail or tram.
The most interesting thing now is that according to the report, TfGM are involved, which could at least indicate an extension somewhere within thier operating area, which can only be of benefit for onward connections.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 12th March 2020 at 5:43 pm
Serious question... Every time bus routes on here are discussed, there are always people saying the answer is to have routes to Parts Wood, the airport and other places we already have excellent regular train services to that are much faster than a bus. Why do we think a bus is the answer a train isn't?
Russell Young
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 9:58 am
Jon Armstrong
Rail is fine, if you can access it with ease. Not everyone lives near a station.
Excellent train services ?. Northern Rail weren't removed from the Northern franchise without good reason.
Another aspect is cost. Rail fares are astronomical, bus fares are substantially less.
Bus provision has the flexibility to feed into rail stations and also link places that otherwise are difficult or impossible by rail.
As for speed, the 130 is a good example, linking two major towns Macc and Wilmslow a journey time of 25 mins, about half the time of rail between the two points and no changing trains (at Stockport)
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 4:37 pm
"Northern Rail weren't removed from the Northern franchise without good reason".

Actually, it was. Northern (not Northern Rail - they were the previous franchisee) were unable to meet the requirements of the May 2018 timetable change because electrification on which it was predicated was not delivered on time by Network Rail (a public body), extra trains from the south could not be delivered for the same reason (dleayed electrification there as well) and infrastructure improvements to enable the Ordsall Chord to operate effectively were not and have not yet been approved by DfT to go ahead. Removal of the franchise from Northern when the reasons for the appalling train service were largely beyond their control was a cynical move by DfT, even more so when you consider that DfT and NR are the real culprits. So don't expect much to change just because Northern have been made the DfT's fall guy!

Incidentally, it takes 9 minutes to get from Wilmslow to Stockport by train, and costs £4.40 for a RETURN fare, hardly 'astronomical'!

The same journey by bus? I don't think you even can! And if you could I'd guess on at least 45 minutes at considerably more than Rail's £2.20 each way (33% less than that if you have a rail card).
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 19th March 2020 at 8:26 pm
Cheshire East's Web site https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/public_transport/bus/bus_service_changes.aspx now says

Saturday 2 May 2020

130 D&G Bus Macclesfield - Handforth: registration cancelled, service withdrawn.

which is terribly unclear - or at least it clearly seems to say that the 130 operated by D&G will not be operating from Saturday 2 May onwards.

If this cancellation only applies to the subsidised Saturday service, as implied by other comments reported here, then this is terribly unclear. The implication from the Council's Web site is that the entirety of the service will be terminated from 2 May 2020.
Jonathan Follows
Sunday 24th May 2020 at 10:00 am
I read elsewhere that the D&G 130 service has now been permanently scrapped, although the usual suspects are trying to come up with a replacement. In any case, under the current difficult times, it's going to be difficult to come up with a rationale for operating what was a non-profitable service for D&G even under normal circumstances.

Why did D&G try to run this service at all, or did they do so under some kind of hope that magically customers would appear once they started operating the service?

If the 130 isn't profitable for anyone to operate (Arriva and D&G have now tried and failed) then is it going to be able to get any assistance from our cash-strapped council?