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.

WW1 – A Sefton Parish family with huge losses

As the centenary year of the end of WW1 is about to close I decided to have a close look at the war memorial that stands on the opposite side of the road to St. Helens Church in Sefton Village:-

And here’s a shot of the plaque denoting those who fell during the Great War from Sefton Parish – Note the loss of 3 people in the Wood family:-

And then in a chance spotting within the extensive graveyard of the church I came across this grave:-

One family (the Wood’s) with 3 sons lost in consecutive years 1914, 1915 & 1916, with two other families (the Almond’s and the Wharton’s) losing 2 members – such an appalling loss of life.

We will remember them

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Punch Bowl Pub Sefton Village – Once known as Harsnops?

The Punch Bowl Pub

Now this is an odd one I’ll admit but not so long ago whilst listening to a talk at Crosby Library about the Registers of Sefton Parish Church I recall the speaker referring to the Punch Bowl as being known as ‘Harsnops’ many years ago.

Punch Bowl Pub

It stuck in the back of my mind and then driving through Sefton Village the other day was brought back to the front. Some research was required.

Vintage Inns who presently run the Punch Bowl say this on their web site:-

Thought to be about 200 years old, earliest records show The Punch Bowl to be the only pub in the village in 1824. The grounds of the building stand on the original Grand National Steeplechase course and provided the meeting place for the 18th Century social club, ‘Mock Corporation of Sefton’ who claimed their charter was granted by William the Conqueror.

No mention of Harsnops there but then I came across this:-

Full text of “Crosby records. Blundell’s diary, comprising selections from the diary of Nicholas Blundell, esq., from 1702 to 1728”

archive.org/stream/cu31924028014581/cu31924028014581_djvu.txt

And buried in the text of the research linked above is this:-

There are two inscriptions to the Diarist in the Blundell Chapel, Sefton ….. A village tradition, given in the preface to Crosby Records {Chetham Society, No. …… I met Tho: Syer at Harsnops, ’tis the first time we met Apriuist.

So this is where the reference to ‘Harsnops’ comes from I guess although I’m also sure that historians of Sefton Village will be able to pin it down more precisely than I have been able to do with my Google searches.