Dozens of bus routes in Wigan saved from being axed
Dozens of bus routes across Wigan that were set to be withdrawn or reduced within months have been saved.
Operators identified dozens of unprofitable services that they are unable to maintain at current levels, including 33 to be withdrawn completely and a further 32 to be reduced in frequency, in areas across Greater Manchester.
The move would have left some communities with a much-reduced – and in some cases a complete lack of – bus services.
To ensure transport links are maintained as Greater Manchester authority chiefs work towards reforming bus services, plans for services in Wigan have been developed to replace those identified for withdrawal and to maintain frequencies where reductions were proposed, up to four services an hour, subject to tender responses from operators.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Buses are integral to our transformational Bee Network vision for a more integrated, accessible and cheaper public transport network.
“That is why we are leading the way in bringing bus services back under local control, why we are introducing lower fares in just a few weeks’ times – helping ease transport costs at a time when household bills are spiralling – and why we will, over the next few years, deliver new quality bus routes, with integrated fares and better customer information.
“The proposed withdrawal and reduction of dozens of bus services – that will be relied upon by our residents to access jobs and key services – is not in keeping with our vision and why we will intervene to save them and ensure our communities are not cut off.
"However, Government need to recognise the ongoing impact of the pandemic as we will not be able to sustain these services forever without financial support."
Transport for Greater Manchester is currently working to re-tender the contracts, with funding to come from existing budgets and the Government’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.
Wigan services affected are 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 28, 34, 352, 360, 375, 395 597 and 635.
Chairman of the Greater Manchester transport committee Coun Andrew Western said: “There is still a lot of uncertainty, but we are resolutely committed to delivering the Bee Network and will continue to work closely with operators and other partners to ensure we have a stable network to build from.
“Tangible benefits will start being delivered in a month’s time when new and lower bus fares are introduced and, in little over a year, with the first franchised bus routes in operation.
“We will only reach our end destination if our communities join us on this journey, and I’d encourage everyone to make the most of the reduced fares and help us build the transport system you want and deserve.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool city region has confirmed the 352 St Helens to Orrell/Wigan will remain at every 15 minutes on weekdays and reduce to every 30 minutes on a Saturday – after weekday frequency reduction was originally proposed.