Councillor Blog - Cllr Gittins on Public Transport in Neston
|Author: Cllr Louise Gittins||Published: 18th February 2020 13:28|
There's room for cautious optimism regarding bus services in Neston and Willaston, according to Cllr Louise Gittins' latest blog for AboutMyArea.
Once again the issue of buses in Neston, or rather lack of them, has raised its head.
When I was first elected in 2011, Cllr Andy Williams and myself spent a lot of time fighting to keep the 272 bus and set up a buses users group which met on a regular basis. This was a very useful way of keeping in touch with residents over emerging bus issues. Sadly this fizzled out so it was lovely to see so many familiar faces at a meeting held in Neston Town Hall on Saturday.
Photo by Rob Clive.
Over sixty people turned up to talk to myself, Cllr Andy Williams and Cllr Martin Barker about the problems you were facing with the revised 22 services and overall concerns about the future of all of our bus services.
I explained that once we had found out about threats to both the 22 and the 272, officers at Cheshire West had intervened and worked with the bus companies to find an interim solution, so I was pleased that both the 22 and 272 will continue to run.
Willaston residents were particularly worried as the 22 was no longer coming through the village, which has cut them off from Chester and the 18:30 service back from Chester had been cut. Today (Tuesday 18 February) there is good news: we have persuaded Stagecoach to resume that final service and they have agreed to run alternative buses through Willaston. The new timetable will run from 16th March.
Download the new timetable here.
(Open as a PDF in another window)
I mentioned at the meeting that is an interim arrangement until September, when we will work with Merseytravel (when they review their routes) to find a more sustainable solution.
The Council has had to find money to subsidise these services. I was asked about government contributions towards buses which currently stands at zero, although there is some money coming for electric buses and support for rural areas. We will bid for anything we can but I'm not getting too excited at this stage!
What I am excited about though is that as a council we have decided to carry out a root and branch review of all of our bus services to try and find a solution to the many problems that we face across the borough. I haven't got any details yet but I'm sure there must be a better way of influencing which buses run where, and joining up Community, School and Commercial services is a more sensible way.
We will have another bus meeting in a few months' time and will advertise on here and look forward to seeing everyone again. I'd also like to thank everyone who has contacted me, Andy and Martin as your voices are very powerful and tell the human side. I would also urge everyone to use the services and report back to any of us when there are any problems.
Cllr Louise Gittins