A Macclesfield to Handforth bus service, due to be withdrawn in October, has been saved following input from Cheshire East Council.
The 130 service, operated by D&G Bus, was due to be cut from the timetables from 3rd October. However, Cheshire East Council has been able to access bus funding from central government to continue the service until 31st March 2021. The operator is due to be announced next week, selected through a Council procurement process.
The 130 currently operates every 90 minutes on weekdays between Macclesfield and Handforth. Additional funding from Cheshire East Council and central government will now allow the service to run hourly, both on weekdays, and additionally on Saturdays, providing additional connectivity. Cheshire East Council is now seeking funding options to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Macclesfield to Handforth bus link.
Cllr Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, who has responsibility for strategic transport, said:
This is really excellent news for our residents and in particular those who rely on this service to meet their transport needs – to go shopping, access health care, visit friends or simply get out and about for their health and wellbeing.
“I would like to thank our transport team, Transport Service Solutions, for their hard work to find a solution quickly at a time of significant workload and intense pressure on our budgets due to Covid-19.
“We can only secure a long-term solution, however, if the government fulfils its promise to adequately fund local councils for the additional costs of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have received repeated assurances from government that councils will be fully compensated for costs incurred in the fight against Covid-19 – but we are yet to see the promise meet the forecasts. This council faces a shortfall of £28m without additional government funding.
“Cheshire East Council is far from unique – councils across the country are facing the same significant challenges. That is why we continue to work alongside other councils and organisations like the County Councils’ Network and Local Government Association, to lobby government to fully deliver on its promise.”
Please note that it is compulsory to wear a face mask when travelling on public transport or in a taxi, unless you have an authorised exemption.