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Councillor slams private operators as bus cuts bite

26 January 2018

Councillor Phil Burke.

The council's transport spokesperson has called for an investigation into the standard of private sector bus services after a triple whammy of cuts to key local routes.

Councillor Phil Burke was speaking after it was confirmed that key services linking Rochdale with Catley Lane Head, North Manchester General Hospital and Trafford Park would be axed.

He has now called on Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) to instruct the Transport Commissioner to investigate the poor performance provided by First Buses across the borough of Rochdale.

The number 16, operated by Stotts Buses, and the 294 and 438 services run by First Buses were cut at a recent meeting of TFGM Committee - despite a public outcry from residents, community groups and local councillors.

Councillor Burke said: "This is death by a thousand cuts and it's time to say 'enough is enough'. The 3 services provided a vital social outlet to hospitals, shopping centres and schools. For example, the 438 service to Catley Lane Head serves isolated communities. The route has now been culled, meaning residents will lose a crucial link to shops and schools.

"I think First Buses is treating local people with disdain. Cancelled services, route removals, poor performance and decisions without proper consultation seem to be the new normal. It's time they got their act together.

"Services need to be properly marketed, with buses that run regularly and on time. That's why the Transport Commissioner needs to urgently investigate why the wheels have come off private bus operators' standard of service across Rochdale."