Wigan bus service axe slammed

Coun John Vickers
Coun John Vickers

A councillor says a borough community has become a “public transport wilderness” after a bus service was axed.

Coun John Vickers, who represents Hindley Green for Labour, spoke out after the 594 route operated by Jim Stones Coaches was withdrawn earlier this summer.

Coun Vickers says this is the third service Hindley Green has lost in the last few years and he has now written to the regional transport authorities demanding the area is better served for those not wanting to travel by car.

Jim Stones Coaches announced it was ending the 594 service in July, leaving Hindley Green with no direct buses going to either Manchester, Leigh or Bolton.

A bus via Wigan is also the only direct opportunity for residents to link up with the train network, Coun Vickers says. He said: “I was unhappy about the withdrawal when it was announced and subsequent complaints I have received from residents have confirmed my worst fears.

“The area has become a public transport wilderness and the people who depend on public transport in Hindley Green are getting a service not fit for purpose.”

Coun Vickers has written to both Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and the chair of Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) demanding an urgent solution.

The region is currently looking at the possibility of a London-style integrated bus system.

Coun Vickers says he also supports that but action for Hindley Green residents is needed before then.

He said: “I fully recognise that these problems and the effect they have were caused by the de-regulation of bus services, and communities across Greater Manchester are suffering the consequences.

“Re-regulation is the answer but, in the meantime, I want a resolution to the problems that this has created for my constituents here in Hindley Green.

“I am in regular contact with TfGM and will continue the fight to get adequate public transport provision for the area I represent and a bus service that serves the needs of everybody in Hindley Green.”

In an online post Jim Stones said it axed the 594 as TfGM would no longer subsidise the loss-making service.