Which 19 bus routes formerly run by Avon Buses are being replaced today (5th November 2018) and which 20 routes will be withdrawn?

Which 19 bus routes formerly run by Avon Buses are being replaced today (5th November 2018) and which 20 routes will be withdrawn?

Which 19 bus routes formerly run by Avon Buses are being replaced today (5th November 2018) and which 20 routes will be withdrawn?


Councillor Ron Abbey (Lead Member for Bus) 11th October 2018
Councillor Ron Abbey (Lead Member for Bus) 11th October 2018

Avon Buses Limited (based on the Wirral) ceased trading on the 5th October 2018. This led to the bus routes and school routes that Avon Buses provided ending.

On the 15th October 2018, Cllr Chris Blakeley asked Cllr Ron Abbey (Lead Member for Bus) a question about Merseytravel’s response to this at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s councillors. You can watch the question and answer in the video clip below this paragraph.
Continue reading “Which 19 bus routes formerly run by Avon Buses are being replaced today (5th November 2018) and which 20 routes will be withdrawn?”

Cllr McGlashan “before you even get out of the airport you’ve got to change money to get a pound to put the bloody..”

Cllr McGlashan “before you even get out of the airport you’ve got to change money to get a pound to put the bloody..”

Cllr McGlashan “before you even get out of the airport you’ve got to change money to get a pound to put the bloody..”


Merseytravel meeting of the 25th July 2014
Merseytravel meeting (25th July) Right Cllr Les Rowlands, centre background Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr Ron Abbey where councillors discussed Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Last Friday, as well as discussing the Open Golf and Mersey Gateway bridge tolls issue councillors on Merseytravel also discussed (which is rather topical as many people will be using Liverpool Airport at this time of year) a report titled “Liverpool John Lennon Airport Surface Access Delivery Plan July 2014” and its appendix which was a forty-three page draft plan.

In case the rather opaque title of the report means absolutely nothing to you (the officer who wrote it Peter Sandman summarised the report and draft plan for councillors at the meeting) it was about improving access to Liverpool John Lennon Airport by bus, improving marketing (which includes joint marketing of the airport by Merseytravel and the airport itself) and the customer experience (improved information & improved customer service as well as other areas). The review was started in September 2013 and the draft plan contains improvements to be carried out between now and 2016.

An example of some of the improvements in the plan are better signage to the bus stops at the airport, a cleaning regime for the bus stops and airport staff receiving WorldHost training (provided by Merseytravel). This is the same free training that was offered to Wirral’s taxi drivers ahead of the Open Golf Championship. The Northern Rail ticket machine has also been moved from the airport (which doesn’t have a rail connection and where there were poor ticket sales) to nearby Liverpool South Parkway train station.

Bus timetables are now available outside the main arrivals point and if Merseytravel get grant funding they plan to have an electronic departure board for buses in the airport’s arrivals hall and at the bus stops. Merseytravel is also in talks with bus operators that serve the airport to enhance the quality of the existing routes. Councillors will be receiving a quarterly report on progress. A number of councillors had things to say about the report and draft plan at Merseytravel’s meeting.

Cllr Ken McGlashan (Knowsley) said, “Thanks Chairman, thanks for that excellent report Pete, really good. It reports on the warts and all, if you look at 3.3, 3.3.1 “how to retain and grow local outbound marketing in the face of competition from other regional airports” and let’s be clear about it, if you’re not to go about it the wrong way, Liverpool John Lennon Airport have precisely done that.

I think from our house to Manchester is about twenty-eight minutes, it’s round about the same I know you’ve got to go to Huyton, it’s about the same to Liverpool Airport but then again if I was to go to Liverpool Airport now, I’ve got to pay to drop off! You know is this a good advert for anybody? I think also you’re charging for trollies as well, Manchester you don’t. You know it is a nonsense!

Imagine a transatlantic flight was diverted to Liverpool and some are trying to find quarters that don’t fit the pound machine. So before you even get out of the airport you’ve got to change money to get a pound to put the bloody… sorry about that, to put your luggage on, you know.

When they owned the airport, the authorities owned the airport, we sold it to Paul err Peel, because they were going to offer us a better service. They in turn put it onto these Canadians, who now seem to be doing everything they can to move everything to Manchester so you know I think the more influence we can have about this to get them to look at this the better.

The 500 service, Merseytravel initiated that, Arriva didn’t! Until it was making a profit, they just got in there and took it off us because it was making a profit.

Now, we’re travelling and I’ll say to them, that the officers have received complaints but they’re doing exactly the same with the trains. The train comes in on each side, the bus comes in at another time. You know, we’re talking about integration, meeting our people’s needs. I mean to do that, you say yourself, you put yourself out to meet passenger needs and unfortunately I don’t think they are at present. A bit of a rant Chair I’m sorry.”

Peter Sandman (Merseytravel’s Customer and Business Development Manager) said, “It’s a fair point, I think the point has been made to the Airport. I think one important thing we have done is started to have that regular dialogue to be perfectly honest with you.

I think the charging for parking, you could argue that it encourages use of the public transport network if I’m being honest with you. One thing the Airport have pledged to do is to really support basically not levy any parking charges to the bus operators who’ve actually started to think about how they are running the service commercially into and out of the airport to increase the provision of service and there is support there absolutely.

I think the other point is that with Peel now taking on the majority shareholding with the airports, the feedback from bodies it’s certainly they are much more focussed on strategic development and commercial development of the airport.

I mean that seems to travel my shift away from the way the previous owners, … felt towards the Airport. So hopefully through this process we have genuinely made those representations to answer your question, as you correctly say and then through this ongoing dialogue we’re starting to look at how those issues be resolved for the benefit of the customers who ultimately will sustain the Airport going forward.”

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 3rd September 2013 Agenda items 1,3 and 4

A report on the Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 3rd September 2013 Apologies for absence, Declarations of Interest and Minutes of the meeting of the 3rd July 2013

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1. Apologies for absence 0:17

Cllr David Elderton gave his apologies for Cllr Andrew Hodson (Conservative spokesperson) as he was on holiday. Cllr Andrew Hodson had appointed Cllr David Elderton Conservative spokesperson in his absence.

Shirley Hudspeth (Committee Clerk) gave apologies for Cllr Steve Williams (Conservative).

3. Declarations of interest/Whip 0:50

Cllr Ron Abbey declared an interest in agenda item 5 (Combined Authority – Cabinet Minutes No.45) as a Board Member of Merseytravel.
Cllr Steve Foulkes declared a personal interest in agenda item 5 (Combined Authority – Cabinet Minutes No.45) due to his membership of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (Merseytravel).
Cllr Stuart Wittingham declared a personal interest in agenda item 5 (Combined Authority – Cabinet Minutes No.45) due to his employment (Arriva).

4. Minutes of previous meeting (3rd July 2013) 1:20

Cllr Stuart Wittingham (Chair) said he had one issue on page 2. He said that the Coordinating Committee had resolved to note the comments, not alter the minutes.

Cllr David Elderton said that the second paragraph on page 4 concluded by “He informed that he would circulate an easily understandable form of words in plain English on this matter to all Members of the Committee.” He was not quite sure what that referred to.

Surjit Tour responded that it was to do with the committee having clarity of its remit. Cllr Elderton asked if it had already been circulated as to his recollection he hadn’t received it yet? Surjit Tour replied that the note had yet to be circulated by him. Cllr Elderton asked for it to be sent out.

Cllr Stuart Wittingham asked if subject to his comment and that of Cllr David Elderton were the committee happy with the minutes of the meeting held on the 3rd July? The minutes were agreed.

Continues at Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 3rd September 2013 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

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Arriva 410 Bus: From “Ferry Across the Mersey” to “Folsom Prison Blues”

English: Mersey Ferry Royal Iris of the Mersey...
Image via Wikipedia

So, having a rare day out with the wife we returned from Liverpool on the Mersey Ferry (she likes the ferry whereas my taste in music isn’t Gerry and the Pacemakers “Ferry Across the Mersey” as loud as possible). We get an Arriva 410 bus from Woodside planning to change on Conway Street on the way back.

The bus goes through the bus station, lets some passengers off, past the new Asda and carries on down South Claughton Road. There must have been at least about twenty passengers on it.

A noise as loud as a firework going off a few feet away happens, and one of the windows on the left side of the bus goes from transparent to opaque with lines running from the point of impact. How it actually managed to hold itself together is anyone’s guess. In a surreal twist the one passenger sitting next to it carries on listening to his music through a Walkman oblivious to his lucky escape.

The bus driver stops the bus at the next stop near Cole Street, informs everyone that they’ll have to get off and get on another 410 that’ll be sent. He invites anyone who smokes to get off and have a cigarette (and looks visibly shaken up himself). As we get off the bus and walk past you can see the glass window is completely buckled and warped. It was clearly something that hit the window with a massive force.

There were many ideas from the bus about what happened, one said a kid through a stone (unlikely when you consider the damage), another said someone fired something at the bus. Certainly the guy sitting next to the window, when he realised what was going on was out of the bus like a shot and not seen by anyone on the replacement bus.

I was looking out of the wrong window at the time and didn’t see anything, but heard a very loud bang similar to a firework or a gun shot. The police didn’t turn up before the replacement bus arrived and decided to investigate things at the bus depot instead. You’d think they’d take a possible firearms discharge more seriously… but it’s certainly strange when Arriva can arrive on the scene quicker than Merseyside Police.

We got off on Conway Street by the entrance to Birkenhead Park, the bus driver came round, stopped the bus and pushed out the glass with a rolled up newspaper. Certainly the thing had rattled him, but I expect he got the rest of the day off. It was one of the massive windows you get to look out of…

Arriva and the tale of the new bus stop at which Arriva buses won’t stop (for 5 months!) – Hoylake Road/Compton Road, Bidston

As regular readers of the Bidston & St. James Focus know, Merseytravel recently responded to a campaign we ran (on behalf of local residents of Beechwood) for extra bus stops on Hoylake Road near the Wirral Tennis & Sports Centre.

The one on the North side of Hoylake Road (opposite Compton Road) is fine and buses are stopping at it. Both stops now have timetables in too.

At the end of June I met with a representative of Merseytravel and Wirral Council on site. There was some concern about the effect of parking and traffic from Compton Road. However since a road of houses off Compton Road was demolished to make a park for Bidston Rise there’s been much less traffic coming into and out of Compton Road (which is short and only has houses one side). Both Merseytravel and Wirral Council agreed there would be no road safety issues as long as the bus stop didn’t obscure a drive on Hoylake or affect sight lines. At this point (a few yards from a set of traffic lights the traffic would be moving slowly anyway).

The bus would be fine stopping on the double yellow lines here and the no loading sign wouldn’t apply to a bus.

However a local resident recently stopped me in the street and told me that Arriva buses were not stopping at the Hoylake Road/Compton Road stop on the South side of Hoylake Road.

Originally Merseytravel had planned to put this stop further along Hoylake Road, but the resident outside whose house it’d be objected on grounds of parking and privacy. So instead it was sited nearer to the double yellow lines/no loading at Compton Road/Hoylake Road.

The resident said she had tried to get off Arriva buses at this stop, but they wouldn’t let her on/off, with the driver insisting it wasn’t a stop. However other operators such as Avon that use this route were stopping here. This sounded odd to me, so I wrote to Arriva.

Back in July all operators on the route (including Arriva) were written to about the proposed pair of new bus stops. This is what the Managing Director of Arriva wrote on the 16th July 2010 (before the bus stop was put in):-

Should existing bus stops be moved, Mr. Finnie would be more than happy to continue using these to aid access to the Tesco store for our customers. However, this would have to be fully risk assessed to ensure that these stops could be used safely

Bear in mind the existing bus stops weren’t moved, but new ones were added! A risk assessment was done by Wirral Council.

Arriva wrote to me again in a letter dated 23rd February 2011. In this they quote “The manager of Birkenhead depot has investigated and advised the following. Our drivers have been instructed not to serve this stop until we have carried out a full safety assessment on it. We apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing, but it is essential for the safety of our passengers, our drivers and other road users that this is completed before it is used. The stop will then be served once we have registered this additional stop with the Local Authority as we are required to do so.”

So, to summarise Arriva won’t stop their buses at a new bus stop which has been in place for 5 months. It’s already been risk assessed by Wirral Council and Merseytravel and been found to be a suitable site for a bus stop. The timetable insert (provided by Merseytravel) gives people the impression the Arriva services stop here. Today I took some photos of the stop and recorded a video to try and explain to Arriva (and the public) why they aren’t stopping here!

Hopefully Arriva will have some common sense in the near future and/or carry out their “full safety assessment”. I’ll be writing to Simon Finnie, the General Manager at Birkenhead (and back to Steven Hill) and taking him up on the offer of a site visit and Merseytravel if they wish to come.

Compton Road/Hoylake Road bus stop timetable

Compton Road/Hoylake Road bus stop timetable

Compton Road/Hoylake Road bus stop timetable

I did make a one minute video of myself at the bus stop explaining the above, but the traffic seems to have drowned me out! When out this morning, I did bump into the resident who seemed pleased that someone was taking an interest in the problem. However she was walking someone to school and couldn’t chat long.

When I clear up the audio (or dub over it) I’ll post it on this blog. On a point of local history, when I was a teenager the secondary school used to play hockey on the astroturf pitches at Wirral Tennis & Sports Centre in the Winter and Spring term. As the school day finished at the Wirral Tennis & Sports Centre we were expected to make our own way back home as the school minibus only took a few back to the school gates (the school minibus took twelve, but about a hundred boys in my year did sports here each week arriving in a coach). In 1994-1996 I could have done with these extra bus stops (especially in the cold Winter!) as it would’ve saved me a few minutes walk after the slog up the steep hill with sports gear from the sports centre.

However, the main reason behind these stops is to help Beechwood residents who visit Tesco by bus to shop. These extra stops save about 3 minutes walk along Hoylake Road (which with heavy bags of shopping can be tiring for the elderly or disabled).