The 130 bus route which formerly ran from Macclesfield to Didsbury is being significantly reduced due to a lack of commercial viability. The reduction of the service has the potential to affect commuting staff and students travelling in from the Cheshire region.
The route which was formerly run by Arriva has been taken over by D&G Bus but will now only run from Macclesfield to Handforth and stop short of Manchester. The route was a vital link from the Cheshire town to the city of Manchester and its reduction has left many bus users concerned about the ease of travel between the two areas.
The change in service means that those travelling from Cheshire to Manchester would have to get off the bus at Handforth and get a train for the rest of the journey into the city. Many passengers claimed this would be a problem due to the higher cost of train tickets, accessibility issues at Handforth station and increased journey times for those travelling to South Manchester.
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) spoke to several of the bus users, many of whom had to travel from Cheshire to Manchester regularly for work, shopping, hospital appointments and to visit friends and family.
An elderly passenger told the MEN that “The problem is, we don’t have any Manchester buses. If it stops at Handforth, we don’t have any way of getting into Manchester or Stockport.”
Adding: “I can’t use the train, it’s the steps at Handforth (station)”.
Another added: “There’s a lot of people who rely on this service to get to and from the area. With the train prices going up as well, it means it’s hard for everyone to travel around.”
The bus network manager for D&G Bus claimed that the reduction of the service was due to a lack of demand: “We are only operating between Macclesfield and Handforth because following extensive surveys it was determined that 75% of the passengers currently using the service only use that part of the route”.
He continued: “We have discussed various options to extend the route with Cheshire East Council, but all of these were discounted due to the cost.
“The majority of the stops within the GM area are covered by other services, albeit to different places, and there are rail links into Manchester from our new 130 route at Macclesfield, Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Handforth.”
A spokeperson for Transport for Greater Manchester has said that there are no plans to subsidise any replacement travel services due to existing commercial services along the route.