Angry passengers hit out at bus operator’s changes

Rod Fraser
Rod Fraser
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Travel to work and shops is more difficult say Stagecoach passengers in Chorley

Passengers in areas of Chorley have complained of having to pay more and about difficulties in getting to work and shops as a result of the shake up by Stagecoach.

Coun Mark Perks, of Astley and Buckshaw ward, wrote to the Scotland-based firm, just days into the changes, saying: “I am being contacted daily about issues of overcrowding, the time it takes to get into Chorley, remoteness from doctor’s surgery, the distance from Booths, the lack of service to Tesco’s Chorley and no timetables at all in the well-used bus stops in Astley Village.

“The new service may well be greeted by residents living in other communities favourably, but it is causing great difficulties for some in the community I represent.

“Is it possible to divert the 109 through Astley Village, as this would make sense and be the easiest solution to cater for the problem?

“In the meantime, bus timetables need to be made available to regular users and those who rely on the service asap.”

Astley Village resident Rod Fraser hit out because services only go one way down Chancery Road in the village, making it difficult for shoppers to get to nearby Tesco’s without having to make a trip into Chorley first.

The Astley Village parish councillor said some bus shelters had been made redundant due to the changes and that the removal of a recently-installed parish council-sited bench at one bus shelter would cost £120 to resite at a bus shelter just yards across the road

He said: “We’ve just put that bench there and now it’s going to cost £120 to move it.”

Ellen Holt, 61, of South Road, Coppull, slammed the timetable changes which she says make it difficult for her to get to work in Walton Summit.

She said: “I get a weekly ticket.

“Now I have to pay £17.50 more because I have to catch an Arriva bus.”

Stagecoach MD, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “In order to safeguard and secure the future of bus services in Astley Village, we have to make sure that the routes we are running are financially viable, or risk them declining over time – which would have a much greater adverse effect on local residents.

“We did look long and hard at whether the service could extend down from Astley Village into Tesco, but the additional length of the journey would have forced us to reduce the frequency of buses on the 109 route – further inconveniencing passengers. This would also have a negative impact on the Chorley minibus routes around Weld Bank, Eaves Green, Collingwood Road and Coppull. We are strongly committed to delivering a great service for all our passengers and will keep the services under very close review for the next few months and if there are any further realistic ways we can incorporate customer feedback, then we will.”