Andy Kelly takes bus fight to Transport for Greater Manchester

August 16, 2016 10:44 AM

Dave Bamford, who started the petition with Councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson at Rochdale Town Hall with their completed petitionsRochdale Lib Dem Leader Andy Kelly has claimed that the failure of First Manchester bus drivers to collect data properly directly led to the axing of the 182 daytime bus service. He was speaking to Transport for Greater Manchester bosses at a summit meeting at Rochdale Town Hall. The meeting was held to discuss public transport issues in The Pennines and was called after residents were in uproar over the axing of the 182 daylight bus service. This left patients, staff and visitors to the Royal Oldham Hospital without a direct bus service to the Royal Oldham Hospital.

Now Councillor Kelly has called for First Buses to reinstate the service, collate passenger numbers properly and then review the service in three months' time. He also called for the service to receive a subsidy based on social need. Andy has called for the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to throw their behind reinstating what he calls a "vital service". Some 1,487 residents have now backed the campaign; 587 online and 900 physically signing paper petitions that have been in shops and community buildings in Firgrove, Milnrow and Newhey.

Andy said: "It's no exaggeration to say that public transport is the number one issue on doorsteps in Firgrove, Milnrow and Newhey. People are quite rightly shocked that a vital service that ensures a direct route to the Royal Oldham Hospital can be axed without any proper consultation. I have met with the Commercial Director of First Buses and he readily admits that drivers didn't collect all the data on passengers. It's this very data that was used to justify the stopping all 182 services in the daytime. That is not acceptable and I made these points to Greater Manchester transport bosses. I also said that they need to work with First Buses and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to reinstate a direct service."

Also raised at the meeting were the unreliability of bus services in the Pennines, including the 182 failing to turn up, the 451/462 not fulfilling the routes, and on occasion not turning up at all, the scheduling of the 451 service in the morning (currently the service runs at 9.30am from Newhey when pensioner bus passes are invalid and the next bus isn't for 2 hours) and the ongoing local concern that there is still no bus service between Milnrow and Littleborough.

Local campaigner Dave Bamford, who launched and financed the petition said: "More and more people are having their say on the state of public transport in the Pennines. I am pleased that Transport for Greater Manchester are taking an interest - we need to ensure that our voice is heard as one. I would encourage everybody to have their say on public transport. Every response will be forwarded to transport as we make our case to get a fair deal for The Pennines. Please see https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PGQKXWF."