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:-
Maghull Station buses back in the 1970’s
I’m told that as a result of the recent Bus Review by Merseytravel in Sefton, the following alterations are proposed from 1st September:
* New service 32A introduced to offer a peak hour service for South and West Maghull to Maghull Station and Westway/The Square.
* Service 32/33 hours extended to run of an evening and Sunday.
* Peak hour service 34/34A to be withdrawn due to low usage following the opening of Maghull North Station.
Anyone spotted any other local implications on Maghull/Lydiate from this review please let me know.
Here’s a link to the detail for changes across Sefton Borough from the Merseytravel website:-
Note:- Still no proposal to route a circular bus serving Lydiate to the new Maghull North Station via Maghull Square, a request I have heard on a number of occasions from Lydiate folk. There’s clearly a view out there that some Lydiate folk feel that a bus to the new station would be a much quicker link to Merseyrail. Would be interesting to hear why it has not been trialed…..
With thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting
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:-
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.
The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-
Well, this sounds all very positive BUT Merseytravel has a long history of big aspirational railway projects that are rarely advanced. I’ve blogged about them before as the railway press has often picked up on them as being really possible and even really likely to be progressed only for nothing much to happen at all. And the evidence for this rather downbeat assessment? – my 3 postings from 2014:-
*The link above will take you to my 3rd 2014 posting about Merseytravel’s long-standing overplaying their hand and there are links within it to postings 1 and 2 in the series.
* Maghull North Station has of course now been built and it opened in June 2018
* The Halton Curve has happened but as I write there are no regular passenger trains are using it.
* Work on progressing a rail connection into Skelmersdale is being taken forward but there are no guarantees that the project will attract the huge funding required.
* New rolling stock for Merseyrail is to be delivered in 2020.
Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.
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?
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:-
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.