On Trains & Buses

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More Weekend Bus Services in Cheshire East

Posted on June 14, 2024

Reading time: 2 minutes.

For once, there is some better news about bus services in Cheshire East. Sunday and bank holiday services have been very limited for too many years, and there is some movement on that now using government money made available in response to Cheshire East Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan. It is a far cry from having a busy bus station on Sundays that we had when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister. If we get a Labour government after the ongoing election, it will be interesting to see what happens, even if they have little leeway on spending.

Services 12 (Leighton Hospital - Crewe - Brookhouse Estate - Shavington), 38 (Crewe - Sandbach - Congleton - Macclesfield) and 130 (Macclesfield - Alderley Edge - Wilmslow - Handforth - Wythenshawe - Airport) got Sunday and Bank Holiday services added to their timetables from 2024-06-09. Of these, service 12 also got new Saturday evening journeys from 2024-06-08. From 2024-06-03, some timings on route 38 changed to improve service reliability.

The result for route 12 is that the Saturday service runs from around 07:00 until 21:00 with a frequency of approximately thirty minutes for most of the day, with frequencies halving after 18:00. On Sundays and Bank Holidays, buses run approximately every sixty minutes between Leighton Hospital and Shavington between 09:00 and 18:00 albeit with a reduced frequency to every 90 minutes in the middle of the day.

On route 38, Sunday and Bank Holiday buses run approximately every ninety minutes between Crewe and Macclesfield between 08:00 and 19:00. Route 130 is similar with buses running approximately every 90 minutes between Macclesfield and Handforth Dean between 08:00 and 18:00, the only exception being the last bus of the day from Handforth Dean that runs an hour after its predecessor instead of ninety minutes.

D&G Bus operates all of these except for the Sunday and Bank Holiday service on route 130, a surprise given that it operates that route every other day of the week. Even if High Peak Buses have the contract for the additional route 130 journeys, D&G Bus passes and tickets will still be accepted. The other element of surprise is that both D&G Bus and High Peak Buses are owned by Centrebus, making me wonder why they might be competing against each other for contracts. Of course, there may be another story here that lies outside my knowledge.

While none of this is near as good as what we had under the last Labour government, it is better than nothing. Hopefully, the new services get the patronage that is needed to sustain them. It is one thing to have subsidised services, but we know from recent experience that reasons can be found to remove these in an unfavourable political environment. After all, years of austerity have done serious damage to Cheshire’s bus network to leave a less dependable shadow of what once was in place.