ANGRY residents turned out in force to protest over planned changes to a bus service which would leave Affetside without a regular pick-up.
The route of the hourly bus, which currently serves Bury, Walshaw, Tottington, Greenmount, Ramsbottom, Hawkshaw, Affetside and Bolton, is set to be revised on July 28, because of a “commercial decision” taken by operators Rosso.
The revised service operates from Bury as normal to Market Street, Tottington, then via Turton Road to Walves, before returning via Ramsbottom Road and Bolton Road through Greenmount to Bury Interchange, cutting out Affetside and Bolton.
One Affetside resident said his family may have to leave the village because the bus was the only way he could get to work, while another said that the end of the service would leave her daughter unable to get to Holy Cross College, Bury, where she starts in September.
Cllr Noel Bayley, Bury Council’s representative on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) committee, attended the meeting, along with James Lewis and Sam Tysoe, officers from the public body.
Rosso Transport were invited to attend but declined.
Cllr Bayley said he had been “deluged” with protests from residents about the changes.
He said: “I can assure you that we are working with Rosso Transport and potentially with other operators to try and ensure that this particular service is kept up. They are a private company, so they can pretty much decide what they want to do with the service.”
Mr Tysoe said the TfGM had been in contact with First to see if it was interested in running the service, or diverting another through Affetside, but that the interest was “lukewarm.”
TfGM provides a public subsidy for the service to go through Affetside and Mr Tysoe said there were no plans to withdraw it.
Residents also slammed the Bury Rural Local Link, which had been put forward as an alternative but needed to be booked in advance. They claimed it was unreliable.