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Ince Blundell bus changes are ‘unacceptable’, says MP


Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has described proposals to stop a bus route from serving Ince Blundell village as "totally unacceptable" and "potentially dangerous".


Arriva North West is consulting on plans to stop their 47 bus service from travelling through Ince Blundell, blaming reliability issues for the decision.


If the plan goes ahead, the village will lose its regular 20-minute services to Southport and Liverpool, and it would mean a walk of more than one kilometre to the nearest alternative bus stop on the A565.


The MP said: "These proposals are totally unacceptable. Ince Blundell is a village which risks total isolation without this service. Buses should be run for public benefit not private profit, and this is yet another example of privatised buses totally letting down the public.


"It is potentially dangerous to expect people to walk down the busy A565, where there is no footpath on the Ince Blundell side and no pedestrian crossing. It is a completely ludicrous plan."


The MP has written to Arriva opposing the plan.

The area's Labour councillor Nina Killen also contacted Arriva North West to say she opposed the proposals and asked for the decision to be reconsidered.


Cllr Killen wrote: "I strongly oppose this. Residents of Ince Blundell rely on this regular service, with more than 200 trips each week to and from the village. It is around 1.2km from the village to the nearest alternative bus stop on the A565. Please take into consideration that the A565 is a busy road with no footpath on one side and no pedestrian crossing point. I do not believe that it is appropriate to expect Ince Blundell residents to walk to this bus stop in order to access the 47 bus."


Cllr Killen added: "I would encourage all residents to take part in the consultation on the Merseytravel website. If this affects you, please tell Arriva to reconsider."


Labour activist Catie Page, who until recently served Ince Blundell as Ravenmeols councillor, called on Arriva to invest the money needed to maintain the service.


She said: "With the profits that Arriva make they can invest the money that is needed to add in an extra bus to make the service more reliable. They should not be asking Merseytravel for any sort of subsidy for a route that is surely one of their busiest and most profitable. Access to a regular bus route is key to help fight social isolation especially among the elderly."


Mr Esterson has previously spoken in favour of re-regulating bus services. Under current rules only private companies can run services on profitable routes. He said: "Bus travel should be a public service. It should be convenient for residents, especially for those who don't drive and increasingly for those who would prefer to leave the car at home. We should be investing in the future by having more buses, not cutting services. This plan by Arriva shows that deregulation doesn't work and leaving public transport to the market doesn't work. What Arriva have done is an example of why we need public control of bus services for the good of those who want to travel by bus and as one small step in the direction of a better approach to the environment."


Passengers can take part in the consultation on the proposed changes here https://www.merseytravel.gov.uk/about-us/Pages/Sefton-Bus-Network-Review-2019.aspx


PIC: Cllr Nina Killen and MP Bill Esterson



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