This morning, I spotted that changes are on the way for the commercial 130 service that Arriva runs between Macclesfield and Manchester. I didn’t catch the details but I hope that there’s no backward steps from where we are now (newer buses, more regular service). In my search for more information, I visited Cheshire County Council’s website but so only an indication of timing changes for Saturdays.
While on there, I also noticed that services like the 392/3 between Macclesfield and Stockport and the 288 Knutsford-Wilmslow-Altrincham are no longer going to be operated by Arriva with BakerBus of Biddulph taking over the former and Vale of Llangollen running the latter. Cheshire isn’t well endowed with different bus operators so we end up getting ones from Derbyshire, Staffordshire and even North Wales coming into the fray. These services were contracted by the council so it could be that Arriva were uncompetitive in their tenders but the changes are a reminder of a trend that has all the hallmarks of a retreat.
Not so long ago, Arriva was the predominant operator in Cheshire but that its hold on that position is no longer as sure as it once was. Upheavals such as depot losses due to the introduction of new bus stations may well have had there part to play in all of this. For instance, bus services in Crewe are now run by a variety of companies with First Potteries and D&G running their fair share. In fact, Arriva’s depot in Crewe is now long shut with Macclesfield retaining one, even if they have had to move with the demolition of the old bus station to make way for a new medical centre.
Let’s hope that Arriva’s retreat from Cheshire doesn’t have an adverse impact of bus users like me. If there is a plan to reduce the frequency of the 130, I could commend it as an opportunity for another operator. Stagecoach perhaps? Well, Arriva does run the 130 from Manchester and it might be a wake up call for them.