A vital bus service from Neston is due to be axed.
In a shock move described as ‘outrageous’, Aintree Coaches has announced the withdrawal of the 272 between Neston and Ellesmere Port with effect from July 21.
The service offers nine trips Monday to Friday from Neston to Ellesmere Port via Hooton starting at 7.50am and seven return journeys with the last leaving Ellesmere Port at 5.10pm.
The town’s AMA CH64 news site says the decision will affect a ‘large number’ of Neston residents, particularly those who rely on the service to get to work, college and leisure facilities in the Ellesmere Port area.
As well as serving bus passengers the route is said to be the only way for many commuters from Neston to reach Hooton railway station, described as a ‘vital link’ between the town and the cities of Liverpool and Chester and beyond.
Neston businesswoman Carrie Spacey, editor of the site, believes the move is ‘a totally shocking state of affairs’.
“It is bad enough that Neston’s rail service is infrequent and inconvenient for commuting purposes. Now, as well as disenfranchising bus users who work or attend college in Ellesmere Port, hundreds and hundreds of Neston residents who rely on this service to reach Hooton for Liverpool and Chester rail services will now be left high and dry,” she believes.
“In addition, many people use this service to come into Neston for the weekly market and its shops and restaurants. All the great efforts being made by local people and organisations to boost Neston’s fortunes are diminished by our poor transport links.”
She insisted: “Bus services are not a luxury in semi-rural areas like this, they are an absolute necessity. It is imperative that the council and bus companies find a solution to this as a matter of urgency.”
Reacting to the prospect Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders (Lab), said: “This is an outrageous decision showing a complete lack of regard for the needs of the many people who rely on public transport for their work and education.
“I call on the operator to reconsider as a matter of urgency and for the Government to end the farcical deregulation of bus services that has left too many communities isolated.”
Local Little Neston and Burton ward councillor Louise Gittins (Lab), deputy leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, added: “The decision by Aintree Coaches to deregister the 272 is extremely disappointing and a blow to residents of Neston particularly young people who use the service to get to college in the Port.
“I will be working closely with officers at the council to find an alternative solution.
“In the meantime Justin Madders MP, Cllr Andy Williams (Lab, Neston) and myself will be setting up a petition to send to Aintree Coaches.
“The petition will be available at our surgery next Saturday (May 19) n the Town Hall from 10am to noon and on our market stall which Justin is attending on June 1.”
Aintree has been approach for comment.