The much missed 311 bus route (particularly in Lydiate)

A visit to Merseyside Transport Trust’s open day in Burscough yesterday and what should I spot but a heritage bus in Ribble/North Western livery numbered for the now lost and much missed 311 route which ran from Liverpool through to Ormskirk taking in the Old Roan, Maghull and Lydiate.

It brought back memories of the campaign and petition to try to stop Arriva abandoning the route back in 2015. Here’s a link back to my postings about the matter back then:-

Four years on since the bus was withdrawn and Lydiate residents without access to a car are still struggling to get to Ormskirk, which is just 4 miles away, with only the 310 bus to use and that just skims the very edge of Lydiate.

Lydiate – Making the case for reconsidering the circular 31/31A bus route

I made a point of getting to the Merseytravel bus consultation event at Maghull Square Shopping Centre this morning.

When I arrived a chap was already talking to the staff and I quickly realised he was making the very same point I had come to make i.e. that the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus should serve the new Maghull North Station rather than the old Maghull Station.

Our reasons? Since the loss of the 311 bus Lydiate folks have limited options to get to Ormskirk by public transport. Secondly, Maghull North Station is nearer to Lydiate so the journey to get to Merseyrail would be shorter.

This issue has been raised with me as a Lydiate Parish Councillor a few times now, indeed I raised it myself when the original public consultation took place about the building of the new station a couple of years ago or more. However, for some odd reason this quite workable change keeps falling on deaf ears. I hope someone is listening this time.

Here’s a link back to a previous posting of my on this matter from August 2017:-

Lydiate – An NHS back water with little in the way of public transport to get to major NHS facilities

There are no GP’s or dentists in Lydiate, the only dentist closed not so long ago. That in itself is unfortunate but if you look at the direct public transport links from Lydiate to the major local NHS facilities the picture is also poor.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident's petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident’s petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

Lydiate (along with Aintree Village & Maghull) lost the 311 bus route in 2015 which linked it with Ormskirk and of course its hospital. Yes the 310 Liverpool – Ormskirk route just skims the eastern edge of Lydiate but its a long trek for most Lydiate residents to get to a bus stop for it on the A59.

Lydiate (together with Maghull, Melling and Aintree Village) has no direct public transport link to Litherland NHS Walk-In Centre, indeed it never has had such a link despite calls for one. I recall saying, when the Walk-In Centre first opened in the early 2000’s, that it could not reasonably be seen to serve the Eastern Parishes of Sefton Borough because of the lack of direct public transport links to it. Of course we were also fighting for a Walk-In Centre to be provided in Maghull at the time and even got to the stage of the NHS allocating money to rebuild Maghull Health Centre with provision for a Walk-In facility. But then out of the blue the NHS pulled the plug on the project for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. I was of course pleased when Maghull Councillor Matt Gannon relaunched the campaign for a Walk-In Centre in Maghull in 2016. I also understand that Maghull Town Council will be including such an aim in its draft Neighbourhood Plan for the Town.

Lydiate’s link to Fazakerley Hospital has been via the 236 bus route in recent years. However, this route is no longer serving Lydiate as a consequence of Merseytravel confirming their Sefton Bus Review proposals recently. This is quite obviously a blow to Lydiate folks visiting friends and relatives by bus in that hospital.

Now the Sefton Bus Review proposals have been confirmed Lydiate’s only direct bus link with a major NHS facility will be via the 300 bus route to Southport and of course its hospital.

The last Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council, Dave Russell, tried every possible way possible to get an NHS facility within Lydiate Village Centre when planning for the new centre was at an early stage but the NHS managed to slip from his grasp there too.

Yes for me Lydiate is sadly an NHS back water both in terms of facilities in the community and with regard to direct public transport links to local hospitals and Walk-In Centres.

Stop Press – I had written this posting a while back but had not got around to finishing it of for publication. Then last night at Lydiate Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan meeting the very same issues came up and there seemed to be broad consensus that another attempt to gain NHS primary care facilities within Lydiate had to be made. Let’s hope such a plan will win the day this time around.

Sefton Bus Review – The proposals

A shot of the recently lost 311 route

A shot of the recently lost 311 route

The proposals are on Merseytravel’s web site and the link is above.

I have had a quick look at the proposals and two things jumped out at me i.e. the continuing lack of a bus service between Lydiate and Ormskirk (following the loss of the 311 route not so long ago) and on a more mixed note some service improvements to the 236 (now to be renumbered 36), which presently links Lydiate and Maghull, to Fazakerley Hospital. BUT there is a down side to the 236/36 route change in that it will no longer serve Lydiate at all as far as I can see. The significance of both the already lost 311 route and the seeming loss of the 236 to Lydiate is that they both link with local hospitals. This is not good news.

To be honest I and indeed locals who know far more about local bus services and the bus industry generally were expecting much more bad news than in these draft proposals but as I say Lydiate looks to be a loser of here.

I need to get my head around the proposals in more detail though and welcome comments in response to this posting especially if I have got anything wrong.

With thanks to Lydiate Parish Council and Kevin for the lead to this posting.

Sefton Bus Review – Merseytravel put it back/defer it but why?

A shot of the recently lost 311 route

A shot of the recently lost 311 route

From the Merseytravel Web Site –

A Merseytravel spokesperson said: “Following feedback from the public at the initial consultation stage and further discussions with councillors and bus operators, a decision has been taken to delay the implementation of the Sefton Bus Network Review. This will allow for further time to assess the consultation findings.

“The proposals will now be published at a later date for people to be able to give their views. As a result the original start date for the changes to be implemented has been moved from January 2017 to April 2017.

Arriva bus at The Meadows in Maghull

Arriva bus at The Meadows in Maghull

I have blogged about this previously, here are a couple of links to those previous postings:-

The Merseytravel bus routes consultation event recently held in Maghull.

The Merseytravel bus routes consultation event recently held in Maghull.

Now call me a cynic but I smell trouble for Sefton’s bus network and when the ruling politicians who presently run Sefton Council and Merseytravel smell trouble they defer things for ‘more consideration’ or ‘more information’ or ‘more consultation’ or even just for a way out.

With thanks to Kevin for the lead to this story

Sefton Bus Network – Merseytravel’s Maghull consultation event

I attended Merseytravel’s consultation event in Maghull yesterday held in their rather fetching and unmissable tent at Central Square.


I raised concerns about the lack of a bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate since the 311 was withdrawn. I also asked for a 231 circular bus to meet the last train from Liverpool each night rather than the service ceasing with the last but one train.

I do hope that these issues can be addressed as part of the review of bus routes across Sefton Borough.