Calls for action over Wigan bus delays

Calls have been made for an improved bus service after changes to a route affected elderly residents.

Monday, 5th March 2018, 8:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 10:25 am
Coun Winstanley

People living in the Gathurst Road and Spring Road area of Orrell were upset when the 640 and 641 circular services to Wigan were rerouted.

The change was made around two years ago, but is still having a big impact on the people who used to get on the bus in that area.

Ruth Mason, who lives on Spring Road, has a long list of complaints about the bus service and wants improvements to be made.

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She says elderly people can no longer get on the bus to go to a shop on Gathurst Road and it is difficult for them to walk there up a hill.

Mrs Mason, 63, said: “I feel sorry for my friends who are pensioners. They don’t get out the same.

“A lot of them are on their own and don’t see anybody. They now struggle to get to Wigan even once a week.”

Mrs Mason has written to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) about the problem.

She says they told her not enough people were using the subsidised service and it will be reviewed in April.

She also contacted Orrell councillor and former Wigan mayor Michael Winstanley about the bus route.

Coun Winstanley said: “It is no wonder that the number of bus miles being travelled is reducing year on year.

“For the last few years I have been lobbying TfGM for a better bus service to the Orrell ward, in particular residents who live on Gathurst Road, Spring

Road and the bottom end of the Broxton Ave estate. Since the removal of the bus service on Gathurst Road residents have suffered a poor service.

“Last year I joined one of my constituents Mrs Mason on a journey to and from Wigan. This journey is far too long and the bus is not big enough as it doesn’t have enough seats.

“I want to see Andy Burnham and TfGM take action.”

Last month the Post published an investigation that revealed the number of miles clocked by buses in Britain is now at levels last seen in 1989.

TfGM said changes to the subsidised 640 and 641 circular bus services resulted in changes to stops

Alison Chew, interim head of bus services, said: “We regularly review the operation and number of passengers using subsidised bus services.

“We strive to strike the right balance with the resources available to us, endeavouring to ensure vital transport links are maintained whilst also making sure they provide value to the taxpayer and are delivered in the most cost effective way.

“In the case of the 640 and 641, rather than cutting the service we managed to make savings by reducing frequency at times when there were fewer passengers and changing the route in areas where other services were available.

"Monitoring service use in this way and making minor changes enables Transport for Greater Manchester to help more people.”