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Neston MP Demands Action Over Unreliable Train Services

Published: 21st August 2017 10:53

Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders has called for action after it was revealed in the Sunday Times that Neston station has the 15th most unreliable service in the whole country.

14.5% of trains through the town are delayed by more than ten minutes or cancelled. The analysis looked at the 1,884 stations in England with more than ten services each day.

Justin Madders MP at Neston Station

In addition to being unreliable, the hourly service in Neston is also far less frequent than other areas and requires changes to reach locations like Liverpool and Chester, resulting in lengthy journey times.

Since being elected, Madders has campaigned for improvements at the station, calling for half-hourly services when the new Borderlands Line franchise is introduced, with the eventual goal of securing electrification of the line. He has also called for Transport Ministers to intervene after pointing out that Neston residents pay higher fares than those in neighbouring areas for similar journeys.

Commenting, Justin Madders said: "People in Neston have had to put up with a second class rail service for too long. It is completely unacceptable that Neston has less frequent, less reliable and more expensive rail services than neighbouring areas.

"The substandard rail service isn't just hugely inconvenient, it also reduces the career opportunities available for Neston residents who do not have access to a car. Those who do use the services available now run the risk of being significantly late, particularly as there is only a 6 minute changeover at Bidston for people travelling on to Liverpool.

"I will continue to fight for the improvements that people in Neston deserve and I will do everything I can do ensure that the introduction of the new franchise is not a missed opportunity."

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Susan C
At 11:06 on 21st August 2017, Susan C commented:
Personal view: Justin is perfectly correct, and we can but hope, though I suspect nothing will happen in the short term.
So wouldn't a decent bus service to Hooton be one answer? That line would take us to Chester, Liverpool, and even Ellesmere Port. I know there is a service now, but only on weekdays in the daytime, not even Saturdays (presumably designed for schools?)
And 43 minutes for the 11 miles to Chester on the Avon 22 service? (Life is too short).
Compare our bus service with Blacon incidentally (which is within walking distance of Chester).
At 09:01 on 23rd August 2017, Grumpy.Old.Git commented:
Look of the bright side - there are 14 stations worse than Neston - are any of them on the Wrexham-Bidston line??
I am not surprised - it is a poor service. Now it is not only expensive compared to the Hooton service, an almost hourly service i.e. it misses hours and it changes times through the day, it is now unrelaible as well.
Must do better.
At 10:14 on 23rd August 2017, 8H commented:
The four substantive problems for the Wrexham Neston Bidston Birkenhead Liverpool route are frequency of service, overall journey time, no direct services throughout, and the lack of tickets allowing use on any operators bus and train within the wider region to and from Neston.

1. Looking at the timetable it should be acknowledged that If it wasn’t for long standing financial support from Flintshire there would be no evening rail services on Monday's to Saturday's and none at all on Sundays from Neston.

This present thin schedule suppresses use of the route.

2. The time that the rail journey takes is also a disincentive to use the route. The more frequent 487 bus takes about 52 minutes to Liverpool from Neston whilst fewer rail opportunities take about 43 minutes with a change.

Senior citizens with bus passes also travel on the bus for free.

3.A through rail service Neston to Liverpool ought to be able to get to James Street in 30 minutes appx, and this sort of time combined with an improved frequency would takes passengers off the buses and out of their cars.

4. Tickets allowing zonal travel via bus or train would help passengers to and from Neston. getting to Chester by bus and train via Hooton and Shotton or even via Port Sunlight and Bebington (with a walk included) are possible right now but you have to buy a a ticket for every leg of the journey
and that comes out expensive and therefore a disincentive to travel.

The local authorities along the route are working purposefully together now and both Justin Madders MP and Cheshire West and Chester Labour council are pressing for improvements to Neston public transport.

The present structure of rail and bus outside of the passenger transport authority areas such as Merseytravel does not however allow much freedom of movement or funding or control.

A public transport friendly government would give the powers needed to local authorities.

Susan C
At 10:28 on 23rd August 2017, Susan C commented:
'Cheshire West and Chester Labour council are pressing for improvements to Neston public transport' quote from 8H above. Not sure we need the mention of 'Labour council' but we'll let that pass.
Is that council pressing for improvements to the bus service or just rail? I know rail discussions are on-going, but a simple bus improvement would help a lot for now, is CWAC supporting that?
At 10:59 on 23rd August 2017, 8H commented:
Typically bus companies want revenue from ticket sales and aren't keen to share it with others. Historically where they have been made to do so, in the urban conurbations passengers benefit. Those areas are invariably Labour led authorities. The present national government and the last coalition government consistently reduced support for bus services and failed to proivide powers to local authorities outside of London to enable them to improve services themselves. In doing so national government have overseen service cuts and reduced usage of remaining services. Therefore this is a political process. You are absolutely correct regarding a possible simple improvement to Hooton Neston service frequency however given the current system the bus operator will just say they can't afford it, like they can't afford the 88 bus trial to go beyond September. The "Market" simply doesn't work. It needs willing political partners.

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