Politics

Bus services leave parts of Wirral like ‘no man’s land’


‘Dire’ bus services to some parts of the Wirral have left residents feeling like they’re in “no man’s land”.

We asked people about their experiences with bus routes, the provision across the area and what buses they would like to see.

Many spoke of areas in Wirral where you will need to get at least two buses, or travel over to Liverpool just to get the right bus to the other side of Wirral.

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Wirral resident, Anna Murray said: “Bus services are dire. I pretty much only walk or drive. Like I’d prefer to walk if only a couple of miles rather than the hassle and cost of the bus.”

And Dianne Orhan said: “Think central Birkenhead is ok as all busses go through that point…. But everywhere else they are few and far between or it’s a change over in Birkenhead.

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Following the concerns raised, we also asked the two major bus companies in Wirral if they were planning to increase any services or introduce new ones.

Arriva said they review their services regularly and welcome feedback, while Stagecoach said some areas were not “financially viable”.

Are there bus routes you would like to see, or problems with existing routes? Email rebecca.koncienzcy@reachplc.com

Here are some of the areas and routes people in Wirral have issues with;

Secombe

Seacombe is in Wallasey and according to Wirral’s latest annual public health report, which uses data from the 2011 census, only 30.9% of households have access to a car, meaning the rest rely on walking, cycling, taxis or public transport.

People who shared their views with the ECHO said it is like living in “no man’s land” after 6pm when some services stop.

Sybil Bergman said: “I can’t go for an evening meal in Liverpool as 433 stops running at 6.20pm or something!! Ridiculous. It means getting two buses and waiting for half an hour in Liscard as when 432 arrives the 413 has already left the stop.”

Jan Kostanczuk said: “We have no service from Seacombe through Poulton past Weatherhead School apart from school buses. Also, nothing coming through Leasowe estate early morning and again at night.”

Kerry Piercy said: “Like living in no man’s land after 6pm! Can’t get to Liverpool or Birkenhead and back unless you take two buses and a walk.”

Getting to the hospital



Arrowe Park Hospital
Arrowe Park Hospital

People also said, without a car, it was very difficult to get to the main hospital via bus.

Sandie Johnson said: “It’s dreadful! I have no car and getting to Arrowe Park Hospital is extremely challenging. How can people be expected to be persuaded to reduce carbon footprint and use public transport when it is, frankly, completely c**p.”

Dianne Orhan said: “It’s awful. When my mum was in hospital my dad couldn’t even get to the hospital on a Sunday from Wallasey.”

Forgotten estates?



Woodside Ferry and bus terminal, Birkenhead. Photo by Colin Lane
Woodside Ferry and bus terminal, Birkenhead. Photo by Colin Lane

Bus services to some of Wirral’s largest estates were also raised, with some feeling there is not enough provision through them, and buses only go to Birkenhead.

Claire Louise Amey said: “Noctorum has two buses which leave within a few minutes of each other both going to Birkenhead.

“One goes through Beechwood the other through Prenton but If you want to go anywhere else it’s two or three buses.”

Getting from one side of Wirral to the other

Some said they would like to see more direct buses across the Wirral from east to west.

Lucy Keating said: “Well even worse is getting over to the other side of Wirral. To get to Heswall from Liscard it’s two buses and an hour and 20 minute journey, to travel what should be a 25 minute journey.

“No late buses anywhere apart from the 432 which finishes at around 11.30pm.”



Birkenhead Bus Station.
Birkenhead Bus Station.

Emma Louise Kenchington said: “Some places on the Wirral don’t have direct links you have to change for quite a few places for example if I wanted to go to West Kirby from Wallasey I’d have to change at Birkenhead or if I wanted to go to Parkgate I’d have to get a bus to Liverpool then a bus to Parkgate.”

Andrew G. Peckham said: “A direct bus from Liscard to Heswall might be nice – what about a train station nearer to Liscard than Birkenhead north or Wallasey village?”

Barbara Corfield said: “Only one bus from Eastham to West Kirby. The number 38. Takes one hour and 46 minutes. Google Maps says it takes 30 minutes less time if you ride your bicycle!”

What did the bus companies say?

When we asked Arriva about people’s concerns and issues over the bus provision they told the ECHO travel patterns had changed significantly during the pandemic and they aim to match where there is demand – but they did not rule out changes in the future.

An Arriva spokesperson said “We regularly review our bus network across Merseyside to ensure that we offer a service that meets customer demand, and as customer travel patterns have changed significantly over the past 18 months, it is vital that we continue to prioritise our resource on providing capacity matched to demand – as we have done throughout the pandemic.

“We always value feedback from our passengers and we will take this feedback into consideration in our next commercial review to ensure that we’re serving the communities as best as we can.”



An image of a Stagecoach bus
An image of a Stagecoach bus

A spokesperson for Stagecoach told the ECHO that most bus services are provided on a commercial basis, but Merseytravel provides financial support for socially necessary services “where there is reasonable demand”.

They also said some of people’s suggestions for more bus provision in the Noctorum, Beechwood and Wallasey wouldn’t be commercially viable.

They said: “Stagecoach regularly assesses opportunities to improve bus services in the Wirral area but demand for travel from suburb to suburb on the Wirral has historically been low.

“At the present time we don’t believe that improved links from Noctorum, Beechwood and Wallasey to other parts of the borough away from Birkenhead centre, where good opportunities exist to change buses and make the connection, would be commercially viable.”

And the good?

But it wasn’t all bad news, some thought, compared to other places, Wirral has a decent provision.

Daisy Loveday said: “I don’t think people around here realise how good the public transport actually is.

“I can get seven different buses to most places on the Wirral from my house by St Caths. In Wales, where I used to live, if you didn’t drive you were screwed because buses were hourly at the best of places.”

Donna Jones said: “I find the bus services on the Wirral really good but then I used to live in Wales and it was an hourly service if I was lucky, I’m now by St Catherine’s and its great can get all over the Wirral, and easily access Liverpool and Chester.”

Mick Cattrell said: “New Brighton has the best transport in Wallasey. Direct buses to large parts of the Wirral. Excellent bus service to Liverpool and on the Merseyrail network. What more do you expect?”

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