Maghull & Lydiate Labour Action Teams successful in campaign to

Maghull & Lydiate Labour Action Team’s Alyson Thornton with Rob Owens and Labour Councillor Patrick McKinley and Lynn Gatherer at Maghull Train Station.

 


Maghull & Lydiate Labour Action Teams have been successful in their campaign to make the commute home that bit more comfortable this winter.

Labour Action Team member Alyson Thornton was so fed up waiting for the bus after getting off the train on her way home from work, she wrote to the bus company to complain.

In her letter, Alyson, who is a former member of staff of Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive and also Merseybus, said Ace Travel's Number 5 service was regularly late and failed to create the integrated transport system that it was meant to.

Alyson said: "If the train and bus timetables are to be believed, my normal waiting time would be eight minutes, which doesn't sound too bad, but in comparison to the subsidised 231 service, it is still three minutes longer.

"This does nothing to encourage car drivers to ditch their cars especially as in practice the wait is closer to 12 minutes. Delays mean the barriers are very often down for the next train before the bus pulls off.

"On checking the latest timetable, I noticed that the timing was due to change this month. This is a small step in the right direction but this still leaves passengers waiting seven minutes which is definitely not 'putting the customer first' and further doesn't contribute to a linked transport system."

After receiving the complaint from the Labour Action Team, Ace Travel announced that they would be adding a bus to the service to ensure that there will always be a bus waiting to meet the train after 5pm.

The company told Alyson: "From October 7, I have been able to insert a bus into the schedule thus ensuring that from 1709hrs onwards there will always be a Number 5 service waiting at the station to connect with the train from Liverpool. As one bus arrives, the other one will leave as per the timetable 1709, 24, 39 etc.

"Drivers have been instructed to allow passengers to board and to sit on the waiting vehicle prior to the scheduled departure time - an important factor especially with the encroaching winter season.  

"This effectively restores the position of 40 years ago when an extra Ribble bus - which had been reallocated from Lancaster specifically for this purpose. This solved the problem then of passengers having to wait for a bus to arrive 'in the cold' and hopefully this new schedule will help to improve the previous position and help to provide a more integrated service.

"As we are operating this service on a commercial basis without any subsidy, currently I cannot find a bus for the 1539, 1554, 1609, 1624, 1639, and 1654 hours departures from Maghull Station at the present time without incurring an additional resource cost which the revenue from the service cannot at present justify.

"I am constantly looking at our schedules and will hopefully in the future be able to release a vehicle from other work to cover these departures as demand changes when other work occurs. Rest assured I am giving priority to this matter.

"This will then ensure that there will be a bus waiting to connect with all the evening train arrivals on this service."

Alyson said she was pleased that Ace Travel was making improvements to the service - but she said was going to continue to monitor the service.

Alyson said: "I would like to thank Ace Travel for taking on board the issues that I raised with them and for taking action to improve the service.

"The problem of buses not picking up passengers on time and the extended wait for the linking bus service for train passengers is a recurring problem at Maghull Train Station.

"As the cold and wet weather sets in then that is going to become more and more of a problem.

"So I am obviously delighted that Ace is adding a bus to the service to fix the problem for passengers immediately after 5pm. I would obviously like to see buses available to meet the train at other times too, but I understand that following deregulation, many services are being run by private companies on a commercial basis.

"But I do welcome Ace Travel's assurances that they will review their schedules and hopefully make further improvements in the future.

"In the meantime, Maghull and Lydiate Labour Action Teams and I will continue to monitor the service and continue to make suggestions for improvements."

 

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