Changes to bus services in St Helens come into force on Sunday

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A raft of changes to bus services in St Helens will be introduced on Sunday (September 4).

The changes are being made following a long consultation with public transport users.

They include:

New direct service from St Helens Town Centre to Haydock Industrial Estate, seven days a week throughout the daytime and the evening (156 service)

A service every two hours from St Helens Town Centre to Ormskirk & Edge Hill University from the current three times a day provision (152 service)

New Bus Provision for Waterside Village Housing Development in Lea Green (156 service)

Increased frequency on 32/32A (Clinkham Wood to Clockface via St Helens Bus Station)

Improved Sunday morning provision between Widnes and St Helens with a regular hourly service (17 service)

Chain Lane area now has a direct link to St Helens Hospital

New Sunday daytime service for Ravenhead Retail Park

The new timetables for services is available on Merseytravel’s website and will be available in hard copy from the bus station on Wednesday.

A Merseytravel spokesman said: “Historically bus routes have been considered on a piecemeal basis and the idea is to consider the commercial network and the supported network – that which relies on public subsidy via Merseytravel – as a whole for the first time, to ensure it best reflects current working and living patterns and new developments and how they are served.

“Part of the review has been looking at the current supported bus network and considering how increasingly limited public resources can be focused where there is most need. A consultation process, involving members of the public and key stakeholders, has helped to shape the review.

“Impacts of changes have been mitigated by re-routing or extending existing commercial services, where possible, to negate the need for a service supported by public funding.

“The consultation for St Helens has resulted in adaptations to routes and services beyond those that were originally proposed.

“For instance, the 603 will be re-routed to serve Liverpool Road after feedback on the impact the re-routing of the 156 to service Haydock Industrial Estate would have for people living along Liverpool Road.

“The 603 will take passengers to local facilities or allow them to make connections to St Helens if they wish.”

Coun Liam Robinson, chairman of Merseytravel, said: “The review of the St Helens bus network has resulted in some significant improvements, better linking key areas within the town and beyond.

“By working hard with operators, we have devised this new simpler, clearer network and have listened to people who live and work in St Helens, making some changes to our initial proposals as a result.

“While some people may have to walk slightly further to a bus stop or make a connection to complete their journeys, we’ve ensured that everyone can access bus services. We are managing to do this at a time when, as a result of budget cuts, some areas outside our City Region have communities left without any services at all.”

Key work areas of the Bus Alliance will include:

• A review of the City Region bus network;

• Investment in new and greener vehicles;

• On board Wi-Fi and at-seat USB charging points on all new vehicles;

• Improved bus links to and from John Lennon Airport;

• Streamlined service changes to make bus services more stable;

• Simpler ticketing and a review of zonal structures and pricing;

• Review of all customer information including more Real Time Information;

• Better integration of bus and rail services;

• Improved Customer Service training for all bus drivers.