Lydiate – 310 bus stop on A59

Lydiate residents will most probably have seen the article in this weeks Aintree & Maghull Champion regarding requests for a bus shelter on the A59/Northway adjacent to the Kenyons Lane traffic lights.

I’ve also raised this with Merseytravel recently following a Lydiate resident asking for a shelter at this spot on the Lydiate & Neighbours FB Group in a thread that I posted about a bus shelter being removed in Moss Lane, Lydiate. The shelter being removed is one that served the old 311 route that provided a good service between Lydiate and Ormskirk.

Obviously the response as printed in the Champion is at best disappointing as there’s only one bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate these days i.e. the Arriva 310. What’s more it only skims the edge of Lydiate with just one stop on the A59/Northway.

I appreciate the difficulties of this A59 bus stop site but in reality, on such a busy road, you would expect not only a shelter but a bus lay-by too. However, I also appreciate it’s a cramped site and that Merseytravel have to prioritise their expenditure. Maybe a re-routing of the bus to travel through more of Lydiate would actually be the best solution. The most likely way to do this would be for the bus to cross Northway instead of turning onto the A59 so to serve the rest of Kenyons Lane, then Liverpool Road past the old windmill and back to the A59 at Robins Island. But this at face value simple change has its problems too as St Thomas’ School is on that short stretch of Kenyons Lane and I guess that at school coming and going times the bus would get caught up in traffic jams just like the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus does on Sandy Lane.

Arriva and Merseytravel can surely get their heads together here to try to find a way forward because this situation has come about mainly due to the former 311 bus being withdrawn by Arriva in August 2015. I covered the campaign to try to save that bus on this blog site – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/21/petition-to-try-to-save-the-311-liverpool-ormskirk-skem-bus/

Yes of course the 311 was a commercial service and the 310 is too so I realise that Merseytravel have no powers to make Arriva think again about the provision of buses between Lydiate and Ormskirk. However, there’s a Bus Alliance in operation across Merseyside which Merseytravel and Arriva are a part of so at the very least they should be around a table trying to sort issues like this out.

And lastly, for now anyway, the underlying issue here is the Deregulation of bus services outside of London that was brought in during the 1980’s. My own view is that we lost control of our bus services when that happened and it was bad legislation. I’m told that Merseytravel are slowly working towards re-regulation of buses but I fear that that bus is only just about creeping along.

Bus routes in Sefton – More cuts in subsidised services?

With a review of Sefton’s bus services on the near horizon (and you can I think sadly read into that more cuts in the subsidised routes) this photo is telling:-

No passengers

Click on the photo to enlarge it

I took it around 7.30pm on 13th July at the Meadows shops in Maghull – it’s the 310 bus out of Liverpool. I happened to be there quite by chance when the bus arrived but the telling thing is that whilst the bus stopped there was no one on it and there was no one waiting to get on it.

Oh yes, and the review is being undertaken by Merseytravel the transport committee of the Liverpool City Region.

It was the recent ‘Knowsley’ Review that has led to the re-routing of the 133 bus route through Maghull & Melling. My previous posting refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/06/04/melling-gets-another-bus-cut-as-133-is-re-routed/

As someone who has campaigned to retain local bus routes for many years – the loss of the 311 Arriva route being the most recent one – I really do fear that with empty buses like this we are going to end up with fewer buses as we move forward. It reminds me of the decline of our railways after the Second World War. With less people using the trains the number of trains were reduced. Then as there were few trains less people used them etc. etc. You get my drift…….

But trains are making a remarkable come back, will the same happen to buses in years to come?

Lydiate – Arriva’s 311 route is to be no more from 30th August

I was contacted recently by a concerned resident who told me that he had heard from an Arriva driver that the 311 bus route was changing through Maghull & Lydiate and that he was concerned to hear that the bus would probably no longer serve the vast majority of Lydiate.

He told me that he had been told that it would cease to run along Southport Road and Moss Lane in Lydiate and could I try to get to the bottom of what was going on.

Mm, now who knows more about local buses than just about anyone else in Maghull & Lydiate? My old chum Jim Sharpe who is also the local reporter for the Champion newspaper. But no, on this occasion Jim knows nothing of any 31ll bus route changes so he starts to put out feelers within Arriva.

I the mean time I find a note about the proposed change of route of the 310/311 buses on the Merseytravel web site but there are no details of the actual changes to the route just that they are going to happen from 30th August. This is what it says on the Merseytravel web site page:-

Bus number: 310/311
Run by: Arriva
Going between: Liverpool – Skelmersdale
Date service changes: 30 August 2015
What’s changing? The route and times are changed
New timetable available? No

So off I go to the Arriva web site and I take the opportunity to have a web chat with them, trouble is it gets me nowhere at all! This is that web chat:-

*****

Please wait. An operator will be with you shortly.
Operator says:
Hello Tony Robertson. My name is **** [I have taken out the operators name] how can I help you?
Tony Robertson says:
I am looking for details of the changed route for the 311 bus which presently runs through Lydiate. I am told that the revised route misses out most of Lydiate from 30th August?
Operator says:
Where in the NOrth West are you
Tony Robertson says:
I am a Parish Councillor representing Lydiate. It is a community south of Ormskirk and north of Maghull. I have been asked about this change by concerned residents who became aware of the change via your drivers.
Operator says:
I will just check for you
Tony Robertson says:
OK thanks. The change does appear on a recent Merseytravel notification but there is no detail at all and it is the new route detail I need to be able to respond to the residents queries.
Operator says:
We’ve not been made aware of any changes to this service
Operator says:
If you contact us nearer time and we should have more info on this
Tony Robertson says:
OK, who should I speak to to get to the bottom of this as it does seem to be a reality from the Merseytravel web site of proposed bus changes. My e-mail address is t3robertson@gmail.com could you get the appropriate person to come back to me?
Operator says:
I’m afraid that you would need to contact us nearer the time and we should have further information regarding any upcoming changes
Tony Robertson says:
OK, but that is not at all helpful to me I am sorry to say.

*****

My next port of call is via a councillor (John Dodd) who sits on the Merseytravel Committee to see if he can help unravel this mystery for me. John also starts to put out feelers for detailed background information about the 311 bus.

Then Jim Sharpe gets back to me with news that is hardly welcome for Lydiate folk. Arriva have told him that the 311 will be no more and that the 310 will be the Ormskirk bound bus. Oh dear, my worst fears are realised and indeed those of the resident who originally contacted me, Lydiate is sadly going to lose yet another bus service.

I hear that Arriva are saying that the 311 was not picking up many passengers in Lydiate, which I find surprising as I would have thought that on a Thursday and Saturday in particular Ormskirk market would be a draw. Indeed, Ormskirk is the next larger shopping centre to Maghull/Lydiate.

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form

A blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form

Thinking back to Lydiate buses of the past the 302, 321 & 345 come to mind that have all been taken off. Some folk say its because so many of us have cars these days and I am sure that is right but some also say that we have to have cars because there are so few buses about these days.

So the dye seems to be sadly cast as the 311 service is a commercial one run for profit. The only possible alternative would be to get Merseytravel to subsidise the 311 bus but with all the cut backs in public expenditure I fear this would be a very long shot indeed.