TFGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) has responded today (April 19) to our request for the service to continue as a full time service past April 24.
A spokesperson for TFGM said: “
Thank you for taking the time to contact Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) regarding the changes to the Partington Local Link service, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has also asked TfGM to look into this for you.
It is important to clarify that whilst Greater Manchester has confirmed its plans to move towards a franchised bus network, at the present time TfGM continues to work within what is predominantly a commercial bus market where privately owned operators have overall control of which routes they serve, usually where they feel there are sufficient passenger numbers for a service to be profitable.
In addition to this, TfGM has a limited amount of funding to support routes across GM that are not considered to be commercially viable. In recent years the budget to provide TfGM supported services has been placed under considerable pressure due to a significant increase in operational costs. TfGM continuously reviews its supported services, including Local Link, to ensure they are making the best use of available funding and as a result some changes and improvements are being made to the provision of services to and from Partington.
As you may be aware, the Monday to Saturday daytime Local Link service will be withdrawn from 24 April 2022. The early morning, evening and all-day Sunday service will be maintained with two Local Link vehicles in operation during those times. As such, from 24 April, the Partington Local Link’s hours of operation will be 05:00 to 08:30 and from 18:30 to midnight Monday to Saturdays; on Sundays and Bank Holidays the service will operate from 05:00 to 23:00.
Some Local Link services do run in other parts of Greater Manchester and all are reviewed regularly together with the general network to ensure TfGM are distributing services appropriately in line with budgetary constraints.
Following a review of the network in the Partington area, we found that general bus services allow journeys to be made to many of the main trip destinations within the operating area of Local Link. The general network can also cater for many more passengers due to the use of larger vehicles.
Whilst I understand that the door-to-door service is convenient and accessible to a range of customers with different needs, the Local Link service is designed to fill gaps in the general network where general buses are scarce or do not run due to low demand.
The Partington Local Link buses will still run early in the morning as we appreciate that some of the journeys are harder to make on the general bus network at this time. TfGM does not anticipate an increase in the demand for the services at this
time, and the number of vehicles has not been reduced. Therefore, users should still have the same access for the service to get to work and appointments. Whilst the bus services aren’t as frequent on weekends, this is to reflect the reduced level of demand at those times.
I appreciate the issues that these changes may cause for some passengers, particularly those who are elderly or with mobility issues, our Ring and Ride service provides door to door transport. For further details regarding Ring & Ride, please see below:
• Call Ring and Ride enquiries line on 0161 200 6011 or 0845 688 4933 • Email email@example.com
Demand for the service is currently low, with refusal rates (the percentage of trips that the service cannot accommodate) are around 1.5% for the Trafford area (as of January 2022), which is considerably lower than the Partington Local Link service.
Should service users experience issues with availability on the Ring and Ride service, I would advise them to report this to TfGM directly so that we can investigate this matter further. They can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you may be aware, changes are being made from April which will see the introduction of new service 280 which reinstates the link to Dunham Massey. Other useful services in the area include the number 5 service from Altrincham to Warrington, the 255 service from Partington to Piccadilly Gardens and the 247 service from Altrincham to The Trafford Centre. The new timetables for these services will be available on the TfGM website before the changes take place on 24
April on the following link Travel by bus | Transport for Greater Manchester (tfgm.com). Should you require any information on the services in Partington and surrounding areas, TfGM’s Customer teams continue to provide a great deal of impartial travel advice and will gladly help. They can be reached by calling 0161 244 1000 or via email@example.com.”
This was the entire letter sent to us today for you to read, so from what we can gather from this letter is that Partington Local Link was not being used as much as it should have been and making a loss for TFGM.
Even with over £1m of funding for public transport could not at this time save Partington Local Link even with the support of the residents in the area and for all those who lived nearby.
We ask everyone who use Partington Local Link to contact TFGM as soon as you can to prove to them that you want this service full time and that its unfair on everyone more so the disabled and elderly residents who now will have to travel by Ring and Ride.
If TFGM are not going to budge on this no matter what we or anyone else says then the best way forward is to get Ring and Ride the same as Local Link during the day and with enough pressure we can get this change if needed at this time though we must fight and to contact TFGM as soon as you can either via email, phone or letter, you can also contact them via Twitter.