Barbara is calling for urgent action following reports of dangerous levels of overcrowding on the Vantage bus services on stops on the East Lancs Road in Walkden and Worsley.
Barbara has been contacted by constituents who have complained that the bus service is dangerously over full and unable to cope with peak-time passenger numbers. A lack of floor space for passengers to stand safely on the buses means that some people have been forced to sit on the stairs of the bus. Large numbers of passengers are reported as being left behind at the Park and Ride site near the M60, unable to board the overcrowded buses in the rush hour.
Barbara raised the issues of overcrowding and lack of capacity with Transport for Greater Manchester. In response, transport officials have said that five extra buses will be introduced on the route. However, this will not happen till January. In the meantime, First Bus say that one extra bus will run each morning and two each evening on the part of the route before the Guided Busway section.
Despite this, it was reported that a bus leaving Manchester was so crowded that a passenger fainted and the bus had to stop at Moorside to help the person affected.
“I have serious concerns about the current Guided Busway service on the East Lancs. It is completely unacceptable that local residents are being forced to choose between boarding dangerously overcrowded bus services to try to get to work or being forced to wait for long periods of time for other buses to arrive. Some local residents are telling me that this overcrowding makes the service non-viable for people living in Walkden.
“Local residents are rightly angry and frustrated by these problems, which are becoming the norm on the new service. People living in Ellenbrook, Walkden and Worsley suffered months of congestion and traffic issues during the construction of the Guided Busway. Now they are being let down by not being able to board the buses due to overcrowding in peak hours.
“The only actions we have been promised are too little and too late. Running one extra bus in the morning peak time is not going to help enough, given the numbers being forced to wait. Having to wait till January for other extra buses means months of misery for passengers when mornings will be darker and colder.
“First Bus are raking in the profits from the numbers of passengers using this new bus service, it is time they stopped being complacent and started making proper investment in buses so that passengers can board a bus and travel in comfort from Walkden and Worsley as well as from Leigh and Tyldesley.
“I am calling on Transport for Greater Manchester and First Bus to speed up action to address these failings, to avoid passengers being stranded in freezing cold weather conditions in Autumn and Winter."