PLANS by transport bosses to end the 403 bus service to High Crompton and Rushcroft have come under fire from a local councillor.
If proposals, revealed by Transport for Greater Manchester, are confirmed it will cease on Monday, April 20.But there is a glimmer of hope. A spokesperson for TfGM said: “The proposals for the 403 went to GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) committee and, on the request of Councillor Sean Fielding (Oldham Council leader), the decision was deferred to the next committee meeting in February.
“This is to enable us to meet with the local councillors to further discuss the decisions.”
However, if plans get the green light, the following roads will lose their daytime bus service: Wood Street and Sherwood Way, High Crompton; Derwent Drive, Valley Rise, Rishworth Rise, Great Meadow, The Link, Greenway, Long Rushes and Rushcroft Road.
TfGM bosses say all roads are within 400 metres of an alternative service.
They explain that service 59 provides links from Rushcroft to Shaw, Oldham and Greater Manchester every 30 minutes while High Crompton is served by services 408 and 435 which each maintain hourly links to Shaw and Buckstones.
Service 403 will also be revised to operate at its busiest times only-providing a loop of Buckstones and Cowlishaw from Shaw a 0936 and hourly until 1336.
TfGM argue outside these times service 403 carries an average of 5.77 passengers.
They add: “However, recent surveys show the majority of these passengers are travelling to Rushcroft or High Crompton – journeys that can be carried on services 59 or 408/435.
News of the timetable changes is another blow for residents in the area ahead of the impending closure of the Trent Road doctor’s surgery.
And TfGM’s proposals have been slammed for a lack of consultation time.
Now, Crompton Ward councillor Diane Williamson has written to Cllr John Leech, Leader of the Opposition on Manchester City Council who is a member of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee to express her concern about the reorganisation of the 403 service.
Cllr Williamson said: “They have left it so late to ask for our comments, sending an email out to our district team rather than to the local councillors.
“This appears to be quite deliberate. If you had consulted with us in a timely manner, we may have come up with some other options.”
Cllr Williamson argues the 403 provides an invaluable service for those elderly residents who do not own a car and could not walk the 400 metres to the nearest bus stop.
She says Crompton ward has the highest number of elderly residents in the borough – some of whom are becoming more socially isolated due to factors other than public transport.
“It is important for them to be able to get down into Shaw to do their shopping or visit the doctor’s surgery now that the Trent Road surgery has closed,” she added.
“A number of years ago I was contacted by local residents living around the area of Sherwood Way and they asked me to see if the 403 could travel anti-clockwise as well as clockwise along that road.
“When I contacted the bus company, they looked at the service and said it was possible to do.
“This enabled more people to use that service when coming home from doing their shopping in Shaw,” added Cllr Williamson.
Recently the ward was awarded the Age-Friendly Neighbourhood Awards – this award recognised that Crompton ward was one of the best places to grow older in the city-region.
The award recognised the hard work that organisations and older people in Crompton have carried out to make their area is a great place to grow older.
“As anybody who has lived in High Crompton or lives there now and uses the bus service up there, it is not reliable in the slightest,” said Cllr Williamson.
“The 59 service runs every 30 minutes going up to High Crompton, but it is notorious for running late or not turning up.
“How can you say that this bus service will be able to provide a reliable service for those residents?
“They are standing up waiting around sometimes for an hour.
“Neither are nearby services reliable enough to accommodate those residents who live on Sherwood Way or around Great Meadow and Rushcroft.
“If this service is changed you will be leaving elderly people in isolation-their independence taken away in a blink of an eye.
“We are not averse to change but wish to be given the opportunity to explore other ideas.”
A meeting of TfGM Services Sub-Committee took place on January 17 when the 403 and other potential route changes were discussed.