MP hits out at bus service axeing

Residents with Bolton West MP Chris Green complaining about bus route cuts
Residents with Bolton West MP Chris Green complaining about bus route cuts

A local MP has joined unhappy passengers to complain about a popular local bus service being cut.

Bolton West parliamentary representative Chris Green has hit out at the decision by Diamond Bus to axe its 518 route between Leigh and Horwich.

This route is essential for so many people, particularly the elderly, who rely on it every day to get to the shops or to see family and friends

Chris Green MP

Residents who use the bus to go shopping at the Middlebrook development, or visit friends in the borough, have also blasted the decision to cut the route at the end of this month.

Mr Green has now written to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in the hope of persuading the bus company into a rethink.

He said: “This route is essential for so many people, particularly the elderly, who rely on it every day to get to the shops and doctors or to see family and friends.

“I’m urging the bus operator to look at this again. Removing this service, especially in the run-up to winter, will have a huge impact on so many people around Bolton West and Atherton.”

Regular passengers who use the daytime services running Monday to Friday through Leigh, Atherton and Westhoughton have also slammed the decision to abolish the route.

Mike Hardman, who lives on Washacre, near Daisy Hill, said: “People from Leigh will have to go to Bolton and change in order to get a bus.

“A friend of mine lives around the corner and he uses the bus to get to work at Tesco in Leigh.

“You see a lot of people from Leigh heading towards Horwich on the buses and I’m disgusted the service is being taken off.

“It’s supposed to be a public transport system. I’m annoyed and I should think a few people will be. How can they just take it away without asking the people what they think?”

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said it hoped there would be no major drop in provision as the new 577 bus to Bolton will cover large sections of the old 518 route and ensure communities are not left with no services.

The 517 will also continue running between Leigh and Middlebrook and TfGM said it was trying to ensure its subsidies for much-needed routes was used as effectively as possible. TfGM head of services and commercial development Nick Roberts said: “TfGM previously paid a subsidy for the 518 to serve estates in Horwich and so the decision by Diamond Bus to withdraw the 518’s Monday to Friday daytime service has meant that we have had to provide an alternative weekday off-peak service.

“Services which are currently subsidised by TfGM will remain unchanged, including the Saturday 517 and 518 and the early morning, evening and Sunday 516 services.

“We understand the concerns of passengers who regularly used these services and TfGM is currently looking into options to enable travel through to Middlebrook Retail Park.

“TfGM will continue to use its limited budget to subsidise services that bus operators will not provide, however, in the current economic climate it’s increasingly challenging to provide all the links that people need.”