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Answers to Questions: Night Bus Services

by prestwichfocus on 17 December, 2015

At the last meeting of Bury’s Full Council my colleague Cllr Mary D’Albert took the opportunity to ask a question about the lack of night bus services on the ‘Bury corridor’ since the withdrawal of the 135 night bus earlier this year.

Q. Could the Council’s spokesperson on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee inform members of what could be done to improve night time services in the Bury ‘corridor’, either through the re-instatement of the 135 night service or later night running of Metrolink or other services.

The answer from Transport for Greater Manchester was:

“The night journeys on service 135 Bury to Manchester were wholly operated commercially by First. First decided to withdraw the journeys that operated late on Friday and Saturday nights. This took effect from 30th January 2015.
Due to ongoing budgetary pressures, TfGM has to reduce its expenditure on supported bus services by 7.1 million up to the end of 2015/2016. This equates to approximately 20% of the previous level of expenditure.

As part of the required budgetary cuts to subsidised services, Transport for Greater Manchester made the difficult decision, endorsed by Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, not to continue to support the night network and it withdrew subsidised night journeys that were operating in other areas.

Taking this context into account, TfGM is not in a position to reinstate Bury night journeys through subsidy that were previously operated on a commercial basis.

Metrolink lines have various start and end times through the week with some continuing to run past 1am on Saturday nights to meet the prevailing level of demand. However, for special events such as Parklife (hosted recently at Heaton Park), which attracts over 70,000 event goers per day, TfGM request that the operator extend services beyond regular operating hours.
TfGM, together with MRDL have assessed the demand for running services later across the board or throughout the week and currently it would not be sustainable. They also have to balance the need to carry out routine maintenance and cleaning of the tram fleet, which has to be done outside service hours.”


Our view is that night time services are important. They shouldn’t be regarded as just something for people who want to go out late at night, but are an important service for people who work a difficult times of the day (e.g. very early morning shifts, or shifts that end very late at night). Many of these jobs are low paid jobs and understandable that people don’t have access or cannot afford cars or taxis.

Bury is really poorly served compared with the rest of Greater Manchester. As this list from T4GM shows almost every other area of Greater Manchester (Wigan, Bolton, Salford, Oldham, Tameside, Stockport and many parts of Manchester) have night bus services, but not Bury.

It is understandable that there is very little money for subsidised buses, but it seems odd that a service isn’t commercially viable on the Bury route and it is on so many other routes. I asked our representatives on Transport for Greater Manchester if they could continue to lobby bus operators to provide this service and hopefully they will.


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