Bus Deregulation, Arriva’s 311 route and Stagecoach

Yesterday I posted about the last gasp attempt to get Arriva Buses to think again about ceasing the 311 bus route which runs from Liverpool through Aintree, Maghull & Lydiate and on to Ormskirk and Skelmersdale.

5477199654_4c00e42669_m

I have also been contacted by another local resident, one who knows a great deal about the local bus industry. He raised one pertinent question and made a suggestion which I have followed up.

His question was why have Arriva, who withdrew buses from the east of Maghull not that long ago, now increased the bus services in that area? When they removed services there they said there was not enough business yet that same area is getting a better service now. Curious indeed, I wonder if Arriva will explain this apparent partial U turn, which will of course be welcomed by folk on the eastern side of Maghull.

His suggestion was that I approach Stagecoach Merseyside to see if they would be willing to look at running the 311 route. Well it may be a long shot but why not have a go said I. An en e-mail was duly sent to Stagecoach yesterday and I await their response.

On the wider issue to the Bus Deregulation Act, which was a Tory move in the early 1980’s, I have never thought it served a useful purpose and did not lead to the competition the Tories said it would. Indeed, a brief few years of competition was quickly replaced with all the big bus companies taking over the smaller ones so to remove their competition. Here in Sefton Borough Arriva rule the roost with a few Stagecoach operated routes but competition, well I can’t see much or any of it myself.

Also bus companies don’t seem to have been brought into the modern world as they do not advertise their routes much, if at all, via the internet and newspapers. Neither do they seem to innovate much either. You still hear tales of bus users with £10 notes being treated poorly on buses when you would have thought any money would be welcomed.

Stop Press: Sadly, Stagecoach have responded today to say they are unable take over the 311 route.

Lydiate & Maghull – Last gasp attempt to save the 311 bus route

5477199654_4c00e42669_m

My press release to the Champion newspaper – sent 23rd August

I have been working with Lydiate resident Pat Breckell of Southport Road, Lydiate who has collected a 340 signature petition against Arriva Buses plan to withdraw the 311 bus at the end of August.

Pat says “A lot of older people have to attend Ormskirk Hospital and they like to go to Ormskirk Market. My husband attends the hospital regularly and if the bus is withdrawn he will have to get the 231 circular bus to Maghull Station and then a train to Ormskirk as well as the Wigan bus out of Ormskirk to the hospital.

But if the bus has to go why not try to keep it running on Ormskirk’s Market days (Thursdays and Saturdays)?

My petition had over 300 signatures on it but I could have collected more had I had more time. I am well into my 70’s and used this bus to do my courting as my husband comes from Ormskirk.

Lydiate seems to be the poor relation as we have lost 2 Post Offices, butchers, green grocers and hardware store. We have no doctors or a bank in Lydiate. Yes such facilities are in Maghull but they are not in Lydiate and if you have walking difficulties, like myself, we have to get a bus to access them.”

Added Cllr. Tony Robertson “I have been happy to assist Pat and I ensured that her petition was sent off to Arriva. She is right to point out what Lydiate has lost over the years be it bus services or other facilities. I campaigned long and hard to try to stop Lydiate’s Post Offices being lost.

I hope Arriva will take note of this eleventh hour plea from Lydiate and Maghull residents and reconsider its decision to axe this long-standing bus route to our nearest market town.”

*****

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parrish Councillor

PS. Sadly the Champion newspaper decided not to use this in their 26th August edition although they did print a letter that Pat Breckell had written to them previously. However it did make the 2nd September edition.

Petition to try to save the 311 Liverpool – Ormskirk – Skem bus

5477199654_4c00e42669_m

Yesterday I was approached by a Lydiate resident who asked me to help her get a petition that she and her friends and family had collected to Arriva the bus company who have said that they are to take this bus route off at the end of August. I was, of course, delighted to help as a local councillor and as I originally broke the news via this very web site of the potential and much regretted demise of the 311.

WP_20150821_12_02_35_Pro

Here I am with the resident's petition 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 route to Ormskirk.

Here I am with the resident’s petition 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 route to Ormskirk.

The petition has 340 signatures on it and I sent on to Arriva today.

My previous postings on this subject can be read via the links below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/07/29/lydiate-arrivas-311-route-is-to-be-no-more-from-30th-august/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/02/lydiate-more-on-the-potential-loss-of-the-311-bus-to-ormskirkskem/

We can only hope that this eleventh hour petition from concerned Lydiate and Maghull residents makes Arriva think again. Fingers crossed.

Lydiate – More on the potential loss of the 311 bus to Ormskirk/Skem

I have made the following representation to Arriva Buses via their web site:-

I am concerned about the proposed axing of the 311 bus through Lydiate. The bus has run for generations and I recall using it as a child. It will leave the vast majority of Lydiate without a service to Ormskirk which is the nearest market town to our community. Please reconsider this move and don’t withdraw the bus on 30th August. I realise that it is a commercial service run to make money but surely promoting it and gaining more users is a far better alternative to axing it.

Please help the campaign to try to save the bus from being axed by making representations too.

5477199654_4c00e42669_m

By the way there is no truth to the rumour being put about that the loss of this bus is due to public sector budget savings/cuts. The bus, like most others, is not subsidised by Merseytravel and never has been. Arriva are threatening to withdraw it because they are not making any/enough money from it. That is why I am calling on Arriva to promote the bus rather than axe it.

You can access the Arriva on line form via the excellent Lydiate World web site at:- www.facebook.com/pages/Lydiateworld/568360476517795

And this is what Merseytravel are saying (note some early morning 311 services are in fact subsidised by Merseytravel, correcting my statement above):-

‘In essence Arriva are dropping the 311 route and will instead operate the 310 every 30 minutes, the route in Maghull of the 310 will be the same as at present. Some early morning journeys, operated with Merseytravel financial support, numbered 311 or 250 are incorporated into the new service all of which will operate as 310s.’

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.