That 133 bus issue – Some clarity but questions remain

I understand that Merseytravel has told the Champion newspaper that it isn’t the case that they are reducing the service based on the publicly available tender document/service specification that is doing the rounds on this and at least one other website where a Maghull resident first spotted it.

They say that the cut-back timetable [in the service specification that I hold] was one of the options considered when the tender was put out, but it wasn’t the one taken up and that there will actually be no change to the present timetable.

They have however confirmed that a new operator (Hatton’s) will be taking on the route as of April.

So we now know that the service spec’ found by the local resident and passed to me was genuine and that it was one of the options being considered. What any additional options were, other than stay as is, of course, if there were more than two we do not know.

That Merseytravel was seriously considering a reduction in the 133 is a given as they had gone well down the planning route to the point of having a draft timetable to implement. But why consider reducing this route other than for the rather obvious reason of not enough money to spread around the publicly subsidised bus routes across Merseyside?

Was some extra funding found for the route at the last minute? Was Merseytravel aware of a negative backlash if they took the reduction plan further? Did the tenders to run the route come in lower than the price they had been expecting thereby creating the scope to keep things as they are?

I guess we are unlikely to get to know the back story to this matter but however, we got to the point of no service reduction in the 133 bus route it looks like it was a close shave but a very welcome one at that.

Oh, and by the way, the service spec’ that has not now had the timetable reduction within it implemented says that the start of the new contract is on 28th April 2019 and that it ends on 1st September 2019. Is that still the case and if it is will there be another challenge for the 133 bus route later this year?

133 Bus Route – Something odd has happened – Reduced service becomes no reduced service

I seem to have been posting quite a lot about bus issues recently. A few days ago I blogged about potential service reductions to the 133 bus route. My posting can be found via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/24/waterloo-maghull-kirkby-133-bus-to-run-less-frequently/

Not surprisingly reactions to this news have been ones of concern from users of the bus route.

However, things have taken a surprising twist in that a fellow local councillor posted on the Official Maghull Community Page of Facebook yesterday that Merseytravel has told him that the 133 bus, although getting a new operator, the times & days will remain as they were.

This raises the question of whether the 5 page Merseytravel service specification document for the reduced service (which I hold an electronic copy of) is genuine or whether Merseytravel has actually and thankfully just had second thoughts.

In case anyone wants to see it, here is the full service specification document that I hold:-

I have taken steps to try to validate whether the document is a genuine Merseytravel one or not and will make the outcome of those enquires known. As someone who is not a conspiracy theorist, my gut tells me that Merseytravel has simply had a welcome change of heart but until we know for sure………….

Please click on the various pages of the scanned document to be able to read it.

Waterloo – Maghull – Kirkby 133 bus to run less frequently

The 133 bus route (currently operated by Comfy Bus) links a number of small communities (Melling Mount, Sefton Village, Lunt Village & Homer Green) with larger places such as Kirkby, Maghull (and its new North Station), Thornton and Waterloo. It’s been running for many years (probably since the withdrawal of the former Ribble buses 381 and 382 many moons ago?). But it seems things are going to change and sadly not for the better.

Merseytravel have issued a new invitation to tender for this subsidised route to be operated (Monday to Saturday) from this coming April. The 133 does not run on a Sunday, I might add

However, instead of the present 10 buses from Waterloo to Kirkby and 11 buses from Kirkby to Waterloo each day the new specification is for only 6 buses to operate Waterloo to Kirkby and 6 buses Kirkby to Waterloo. One additional service the 0743 from Kirkby will terminate at Maghull Square at 0823 and will run school term times only, so will not serve Sefton & Lunt Villages, Homer Green or Thornton at all. The very early bus (the 06.53 from Kirkby) will also not run on a Saturday.*

There can be little doubt that this reduction in frequency of the 133 bus will be a blow to regular users of it. Here’s a link to present timetable:-

bustimes.org/services/133-waterloo-maghull-knowsley-industrial-park-2

And this is the proposed timetable from April this year:-

I’m guessing that the Parish Councils along the route will have had something to say about reduction in service.

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting.

Please click on the new timetable to enlarge it for reading

* Hope I’ve interpreted all the changes correctly but please shout if I have not.

A cycling weekend

This great weather has to be taken advantage of so I have been out on my bike every day recently riding through Netherton, Aintree Village, Lunt, Thornton, Sefton Village, Maghull, Lydiate, Melling, Aughton, Down Holland, Bickerstaff etc.

Saturday saw me in a cycle race. Well that’s putting it a little strongly as I found myself cycling the same road in the same direction as what looked like a professional cycling outfit. They were very polite as they whistled past me doing twice my speed at least. This happened on Prescot Road in Aughton – I think I came 117th out of 95 riders:-) Here’s a shot of them:-

Sunday saw me off through Lunt Village where I respectfully doffed my cap (cycle helmet actually) outside the house of the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Bootle MP and an old sparing partner of mine on Sefton Council Peter Dowd. Private Eye tells me he has been in China in recent times so he may not have been at home.

Some of the fields around Lunt Village have changed immeasurably over the past 20 years as some farmland has been replaced by woodland – Part of the Mersey Forest. Sadly though the back lanes of Lunt are used to dump all kinds of rubbish – a subject I have commented on many times before on this blog site. Just look at this recent photo:-

Oh well more good weather more cycling………..

Lunt – They’re still fly-tipping despite gated lanes

I must admit that I thought that the fly-tipping would stop when Sefton Council gated the back lanes behind Lunt Village but sadly I was wrong.

This was the scene on Longdale Lane 6th May:-

And this is what the gates look like:-

Pedestrians can step over them and cyclists can lift their bikes over them, but how on earth are fly-tippers getting their vans and lorries around the back of Lunt?

Lunt – Hope that gated roads will stop the fly tipping

I have posted about this problem many times in the past.

To say that the villagers in Lunt must have had a gut full of the illegal activities of fly-tippers around their community must be putting it politely. This isolated Sefton Borough Community has been a rubbish dumping ground for far too long – tyres, asbestos, white goods, furniture, builders rubble, remnants of pot-farms you name it, it’s been dumped there,

It’s been going on and indeed getting worse for many years now. I recall that in my time as a Sefton Councillor for the ward that covered Lunt Village I was constantly on at Sefton Council to remove fly-tipped rubbish and to do some covert surveillance to catch the culprits. Sadly, whilst they did usually clear the rubbish away the Council were steadfast in their refusal to engage in covert surveillance.

But there has been a long, long promise from Sefton Borough Council to gate the lanes around the village to stop vehicular access and it’s finally starting to happen. This gate has very recently gone in on Longdale Lane:-

But the other lane (Back Lane) which also provides access to where the dumping goes on is still without a gate, although it looks like work to put a gate there is ongoing. The photo below was taken on Sunday 8th October:-

Let’s hope the work is completed soon so that some measure of control over illegal fly-tipping is put in place.