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:-

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

Four years on since the bus was withdrawn and Lydiate residents without access to a car are still struggling to get to Ormskirk, which is just 4 miles away, with only the 310 bus to use and that just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

Ribble Motor Services – This would have been their centenary

This year is the centenary of the formation of the mighty and much-missed (in bus enthusiast quarters particularly) Ribble Motor Services.

Vintage Ribble bus photoed at the West Lancs Light Railway in 2018

I’m told that Arriva’s Bootle Depot are to paint one of their buses in Ribble livery as a commemoration of the Centenary, which is fitting given Ribble’s Bootle depots (both the old one – now demolished and the new one – now Arriva’s depot) operated an intensive service on Ribble’s routes.

Here’s a blast from the past a former Ribble Lydiate bound 321 bus in model form. Sadly it’s a long lost route for Lydiate residents.

With thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting

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.

Arriva 300 Liverpool – Southport via Lydiate Route

An Arriva 300 bus at the Meadows bus stop, Maghull.

A recent conversation with a Maghull resident made me aware that there are concerns that weekday afternoon 300 Arriva buses are not necessarily reliable and it made me think. Think because I have previously heard concerns being raised about the unreliability of the 300 bus on weekday afternoons. Is this a common issue? I’d like to hear from any users of the route, so please get in touch.

Coincidentally, I’ve also picked up a copy of a recent report from Mike Perkins of OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association) on the sate of bus services in and around Southport and he also makes mention of the 300 route. This is what he says:-

Please click on the text above to enlarge it for reading

I understand that Mike was previously involved in managing some local bus services so he’ll know what he is talking about and I thought his comments on the 300 route were worth sharing.

Northern Rail – Just why are their services struggling to deliver and who’s going to fix things?

I guess many of passengers using Northern Rail in recent times will have asked themselves this question. Cancelled trains due to a lack of rolling stock and or drivers/guards seem to be an everyday occurrence nowadays and of course, as with Merseyrail, Northern are deeply into industrial action with rail union RMT over loss of train guards on new rolling stock.

I’m told that locally cancelled trains on the Ormskirk – Preston Line are now a common occurrence, but it’s clear that Northern’s problems extend over the whole franchise area and it must be the case that Arriva, who own the Northern Rail franchise, are under pressure.

That northern MP’s are getting to the end of their tether with Northern is to be expected as their constituents fill the MP’s post bags with stories of poor performance. That frustration amongst northern MP’s leads to this (see link below):-

www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1240

And of course we have seen that the services on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester line are soon to go into Manchester Victoria Station, with few going to Manchester Piccadilly and none to Manchester Airport anymore.

All in all it seems that Northern’s passengers have a lot to be unhappy about but how are the problems going to get fixed?

300 Arriva bus route – more timetable changes coming

An Arriva bus at the Meadows bus stop

I have blogged about changes to the 300 bus route previously. My last posting is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/25/300-bus-route-kgv-college-is-the-reason-for-the-timetable-changes-say-arriva/

However, it seems that more changes may well be on the way from 21st January although what those changes will be I am presently unsure.

A local resident e-mailed me about the potential changes and this is what they said:-

I note that Arriva intend to amend the timetable of the above, as per this notice:
PC0001141/69 ARRIVA MERSEYSIDE LTD, 73 ORMSKIRK ROAD, LIVERPOOL, L9 5AE
Operating between Southport,Union Street and Liverpool City Centre given service number 300 / 300 effective from 21 January 2018. To amend Timetable.

As the deadline for objections is 20th December, I suspect no details as to what the amendments are will be available on line until after then. I trust it will be only minor adjustments and nothing too drastic!

Watch this space, I will pass on any further information I become aware of.

Thanks to Kevin for the lead to this posting