Cheshire East Council’s Public Transport Consultation has yielded its results and they don’t look all that pretty. Quite a number of services face extinction and it could happen just before Christmas according to the proposed timetable. Details of the affected services are divided into schoolday and non-schoolday categories and there’s overview of services receiving financial support too.
While it is a relief to see some pivotal services saved from cuts, there is a surprise too in the form of financial support being recommended for service 27 between Macclesfield and Knutsford. From next month, I was led to believe that was becoming a commercial operation. Maybe that’s like the bus stop sign professing the return of the sadly defunct Sunday journeys of service 108 between Stockport, Macclesfield and Leek following their demise last year. That sign in Oakgrove turned out to be incorrect so it might be the same with the aforementioned recommendation too. Events may have overtaken the consultation.
Returning to the planned losses, school services seem to be taking quite a hit again this year and it looks as if even more of them will be affected than last year. Some non-school services such as the 390 between Poynton, Bramhall and Stockport or the 391 between Middlewood, Poynton and Stockport face total withdrawal altogether. There are more services facing cuts than these but I have selected several for special mention below some that stand out for me. One only can hope that no more savings are needed but it could prove a forlorn one again in 2013.
Service 108: Macclesfield-Ashbourne-Leek
Friday and Saturday only evening journeys, one morning journey from Leek to Macclesfield and Fallibroome High School and afternoon journey from the latter to Sutton: the first of these would be a loss for anyone fancying a day out walking in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Derbyshire Dales but a journey a few years ago had few folk on it until Macclesfield so these were vulnerable in an era when public spending is under pressure.
Service 378: Wilmslow-Handforth-Stockport
The proposed cuts would leave only a Monday to Saturday daytime service with train travel being needed at other times. This looks a stark option so axes really are in action here.
Service 130: Macclesfield-Wilmslow-Manchester
Monday to Saturday evening journeys between Macclesfield and Didsbury are set for the chop. Sadly, they were seen as marginal during the last round of cuts and seem to be a target this time too. It makes me wonder how anyone working late at Alderley Park (there are some) is supposed to get home; it sounds like more expensive taxis are set to be all that they have if the service goes.
Early Saturday morning services are to be another casualty and it seems that train travel is being cited as an alternative to both. That argument has appeared before but it means that so many spots currently being served will lose what they have. This also was one of the services attracting the most public input and nearly a fifth of those were using it to get to work!
Services 5 & 6: Weston Estate Circular (Macclesfield)
Service 9: Moss Rose (Macclesfield)
Service 10A: Macclesfield-Bollington
Though these are three different services, they face the same cut: the loss of Monday to Saturday evening services. Interestingly, the 10A Sunday service came off council support last year and is run commercially now so there may be hope for some of these journeys. Otherwise, it’s a case of using the more expensive taxi option or walking (always of no cost, of course).
Service 38: Macclesfield-Crewe
It’s the Sunday evening services that are in the firing line here. There was a time when I really found these useful though they weren’t so well used so I can see why they are a target. Around ten years ago, there was a proposal to axe all evening journeys on this service but that thankfully never came to pass.
Service 84: Crewe-Nantwich-Chester
This another trunk service facing the axing of evening services and it seems to be all four of them on every day of the week. Again, train travel has been suggested as an alternative but it still looks an austere proposition.