TfGM threatening to axe direct bus service from Rochdale to North Manchester General Hospital

Date published: 11 January 2018

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is threatening to axe the direct bus service linking Rochdale to North Manchester General Hospital.

The 16 service, which runs from Rochdale to North Manchester General Hospital via Middleton, was introduced on a 12 month trial period after Councillor Richard Farnell requested a service to directly link the towns to the hospital.

Councillor Farnell’s request came after an elderly Shawclough resident faced a journey totalling six buses per day to visit her sick husband at the hospital.

Councillor Farnell said: “This service arose following the plight of an 85-year-old lady from Shawclough who faced a two hour journey on three buses each way to visit her sick husband in North Manchester. She was leaving home at lunchtime and not arriving home until after 10 at night. This situation is clearly not unique to this lady.

“She was her husband’s only visitor and had to endure this journey every day. As there was hardly enough time to get home and back to the hospital again between afternoon and evening visiting times, she had to spend hours during the afternoon sitting in the cafeteria.”

He continued: “Rochdale residents need and deserve an efficient bus service to North Manchester hospital. What steps have TfGM taken to advertise and promote this service?

“With the re-regulation of bus services, TfGM should be able to make more sensible transport decisions rather than simply approving bus services that attract the highest number of passengers.

“Bus services should be about meeting the needs of the community: what about residents who need to get to hospital? It’s not good enough for more and more local hospital services being relocated to super hospitals miles away, and then not providing people with the ability to get there.”

The former council leader has written to Councillor Phil Burke, who is a member of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, the head of TfGM and the CX of Pennine Acute protesting about the threatened removal of the direct bus service.

A Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) spokesperson said: “The number 16 service was introduced on a trial basis in January 2017 to provide daily direct journeys between Rochdale Interchange and North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH).

“Analysis of the service has shown that only a very small number of people are using the service to make the connection to NMGH, with most passengers making shorter journeys along the route, where alternative commercial services also operate.

“As such a recommendation has been made to withdraw the service, and this will be discussed by members of a Transport for Greater Manchester subcommittee on Friday 19 January.”

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