Last year we welcomed the change to the service to Altrincham but residents were up in arms about the loss through Statham. It severely impacted elderly and disabled passengers who were forced to walk under Barsbank Aqueduct, which can be dangerous, and then up a steep hill to bus stops on the top road. With great support from the Morrisons shop in Albany Road, we launched a petition which gathered more than 600 signatures. In March we organised consultation sessions with Council officers to put the case for a return of a service.
We are grateful that a solution has now been found. It has taken a long time because there were many hurdles to climb over. If a service does not make a profit, it has to be subsidised by the Council. We are fortunate that some of the government’s Bus Service Improvement Grant has been used for this but the law states that care has to be taken that a subsidised service does not compete with a commercial one. Access to the rest of the network can be achieved by changing at appropriate stops.
The new 47 service will have low floor easy access buses with space for a limited number of wheelchairs, buggies and pushchairs. The route starts at the Interchange in Warrington and then runs to Bank Quay Station, Walton Road in Stockton Heath, Grappenhall Road, Chester Road, Weaste Lane in Thelwall and up Massey Brook Lane to Lymm. It turns right onto Booths Hill Road, then down Barsbank Lane into Star Lane, left onto Warrington Road, left onto Camsley Lane and then back down Massey Brook Lane. One reason for this ‘anticlockwise’ route is that the shelter near Turnberry Close can be used. Going ‘clockwise’ would mean the shelter was redundant.
The service runs from Monday to Saturday starting in Warrington at 8.15am with the last service leaving town at 5.00pm. From 9.30am to 2.30pm it is hourly with slight variations before and after. As well as benefitting Lymm residents, it will also help residents elsewhere in the south of the town.
My thanks to Council officers for all their work to get the service up and running and to Omega Busways for operating it. I really hope it is well used to justify the investment.