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Crucial Bus Service Connecting Widnes & Liverpool To Be Scrapped

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 3:24pm

By Chris McKeon - Local Democracy Reporter

A crucial bus service taking people into Liverpool is set to be axed.

Widnes will lose its express bus connection to the city after the X5 service was judged “not commercially viable” by operators Stagecoach.

Despite the fast, limited stop service proving popular with passengers, Stagecoach said it had “no option but to cancel the service” from November 24.

A statement on the company’s website said: “We did explore other potential options to try and continue to provide a link to Widnes, but none of these were commercially viable, or satisfied the demand for fast, limited-stop journeys into Liverpool. 

“As we cannot see a commercially viable future for this bus link, we have therefore been left with no option but to cancel the service.”

The X5 has been the fastest bus link between Widnes and Liverpool, taking passengers from Derby Road to Liverpool One in just one hour, with stops in Ditton, Speke and Aigburth.

A Stagecoach consultation found the service was popular with passengers, who “appreciated the fast journey times and limited stop nature of the service”.

The company added: “They also demonstrated that there was a clear appreciation of new and improved links to the Lunts Heat and Barrow’s Green areas of Widnes. 

“It was also clear that a number of X5 customers had previously used the train, or the car; but the limited-stop nature of the service, combined with comparatively low fares had attracted them to use the bus.”

Ditton councillor Eddie Dourley, whose ward is served by the X5, said: “It’s very disappointing to lose this service, but these days if a route is not commercially viable the bus company will not continue with the service and this looks like another example of this.

“Fortunately Halton remains well served by Halton Transport and Arriva in terms of services to Liverpool.”

Several bus services operated by those companies still connect Widnes to Liverpool, but with more stops and longer journey times than the X5.

Arriva’s 79 and 500 services link Widnes to Liverpool One but take more than an hour and 10 minutes.

Halton Transport’s 14 and 61 and Arriva’s 7 service go to Queen’s Square in the city centre, but all take more than an hour to get there and make several stops along the way.

The X5’s last day of operation will be November 23.

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