by Iain Roberts on 7 September, 2017
Following complaints about Stagecoach scrapping the X57 bus service and replacing it with the 42B, which is slower and stops running earlier in the evening, here is Stagecoach’s response.
Thank you for raising the petition with us. To give you some background the X57 became service 42B in January 2017 and was no longer registered as limited stop into Manchester. At the same time Transport for Greater Manchester chose to withdraw the contract to operate the evening service as these journeys carried very few passengers.
Stagecoach has operated the route X57 for a number of years. The route runs commercially during the day – that is it receives no public money to operate and its costs of operation need to be covered by the revenue received from customers.
In the evenings, where fewer people travelling meant it was not viable to consider a commercially provided bus service then Transport for Greater Manchester funded journeys run under contract by Stagecoach.
The X57 route has failed to cover the costs of operation for some years. This is primarily down to too few people travelling on the route. This can be down to a number of factors including relatively high car ownership in the areas served and severe traffic congestion experienced along the route meaning the journey by bus is not competitive time wise compared to either driving or the train being two of the challenges.
Given the X57 was not covering the costs of operation, and had not done so for some time, we looked at options to protect the viability of the direct bus link from Cheadle to Manchester. As a consequence we merged the route with our existing 42 service meaning buses now potentially stop at all stops between Cheadle and Manchester.
We recognise that it means the journey time from Cheadle to Manchester is slower and potentially less attractive to some customers than before but given that we will never compete on journey times compared to other modes of transport without significant highways investment in bus priority measures then we believe that the 42B option was the best in securing the future of the bus service.