A COUNCILLOR has slammed a decision to axe a bus route into Manchester city centre.

Cllr Noel Bayley, Bury Council’s representative on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) committee, said: “The people of Bury deserve better.”

He spoke out after the termination of the x35 bus route from Bury North into Manchester city centre. Cllr Bayley aired the frustration of residents during the latest TfGM sub-committee, where he told members that it would be wrong of him as a representative of Bury’s residents to let the withdrawal of a vital bus service pass without comment.

Without the x35 service, those travelling from Bury North must use a combination of bus services and Metrolink services to get into the city centre. He highlighted the two biggest concerns of Bury people – time and money. He argued that getting two buses rather than one is a poor offer to residents who have already experienced ‘chronic unreliability problems worsening’ since the town’s depot was closed in April.

He said that advising people to use two different modes of transport as an alternative means paying twice and daily travel on the Metrolink was beyond the means of many young people in work and education as well as those who are on low wages.

The concerns were echoed by James Frith MP in a meeting with Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham as part of his Better Buses for Bury campaign. Mr Frith called on the Mayor to use new franchising powers to improve the services, existing routes and create new routes connecting rural communities.

After the meeting, Mr Frith said: “I expressed my disappointment and frustration at the poor service offered by First and their ability to pull vital bus services off the road with little notice. I urged him to use the new powers to introduce new franchises with strict requirements on operators to deliver services to rural areas at affordable fares. I want to see the new franchising scheme introduced early in Bury and will be working with Bury Council and TfGM to make this happen.”

Mr Burnham said: “I know many residents in Bury and across Greater Manchester have frustrations. I will continue working closely with James and other MPs to secure the services our residents deserve. As a consequence of school bus contract changes, we are unfortunately no longer able to operate the X35 journeys connecting Walmersley and Manchester via Bury.

A spokesperson for First Uk Bus, said: “Unfortunately our submission to continue operating the school contract was unsuccessful and TfGM have awarded the contract to another operator. We have looked at other options but have been unable to find an alternative viable solution.”