Online petition after 'commercial' decision takes thousands by surprise
ANGRY bus passengers are queuing up in their droves to sign an online petition after one of the busiest services into the city centre was put on permanent divert - taking thousands by surprise.
Buses on the 82 route from Speke to Liverpool One no longer stop near that exceeding bare statue at Lewis’s old store. But it’s all in the interests of bus efficiency.
Instead of heading past the Blackie, St Luke’s and Lime Street Station, along Berry Street, Renshaw Street and Hanover Street, the 82, since September 3, has made a sharp turn at St James Place, heading to Liverpool One bus station along St James Street/Park Lane.
Many users of the 82 alight at Bold Place or Lewis’s, the most convenient drop off points for Ropewalks, Lime Street Station and the St John's Precinct area. But not any more.
The joint move by the league of Liverpool’s main bus operators, Arriva and Stagecoach, has incensed so many of them that an online petition has already gathered more than 2,600 signatures.
Passenger Paul Bell started the change.org petition calling for the new route to be scrapped.
“The bus now reaches its final destination via a diversion down St James Street from a point far outside the city centre, thus bypassing much of the city centre itself,” he says on the petition page.
“This means that 82 bus passengers wishing to visit the Berry Street/Renshaw Street/Hardman Street/Hope Street areas of Liverpool are now greatly inconvenienced, as are those passengers who wish to access Lime Street and Liverpool Central train stations.”
Bell goes on: “A representative of Merseytravel has told me via email that the change has been made as a means of easing congestion on Hanover Street. If this is the case, why are 82 bus passengers the ones who are being made to suffer all of the resulting inconvenience? What about other buses travelling into Liverpool city centre from south Liverpool? Why can't the 86 bus be re-routed down Upper Parliament Street and then on to St James Street on what is now the current 82 route, instead of turning into Catharine Street from Upper Parliament Street as it does at present?
Surely the fairest solution to the problem would be for all the main bus services into Liverpool city centre from south Liverpool (or at least the 86, 80 and 82 services) to be split into 'A' and 'B' routes with half taking the Hanover Street route and half taking the St James Street route?
“Finally, I am unaware of any public consultation having taken place in advance of this major and highly inconveniencing change to the 82 bus route. The Merseytravel representative has apologised to me for the lack of prior publicity.”
John Marston, who has signed the petition commented: Me and my wife Lesley use the 82 bus regularly and were mystified one day to be driven down the new route without no explanation. We thought at first it was due to roadworks again, but to then find it was permanent was a joke. Once again private bus companies providing s public service ride roughshod over people who rely on public transport to go about their everyday lives. Shame on them, reverse this non-consultation decision now.
Merseytravel told Liverpool Confidential that as it was a commercial decision they had no power to intervene. A spokesman confirmed Arriva and Stagecoach had jointly made the decision to ease congestion in the Hanover Street area.
As for commuters needing to catch a train from Lime Street, they are advised to jump on another bus once they reach LIverpool One.
The old 82 bus joke - which only works when you say it - used to be something along the lines of: “How do you get a bus to Speak (Speke). Now it’s a case of how do you get the Speke bus operators to listen, which, for thousands, is proving to be no joke at all.
A spokesman says...
A spokesperson on behalf of Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseytravel said: "The decision to change the route was taken jointly by the bus operators, Arriva and Stagecoach, in agreement with Merseytravel.
"The primary aim was to alleviate some of the congestion on Hanover Street and surrounding area by rerouting the service along Park Lane to Liverpool ONE Bus Station. "The congestion on Hanover Street, particularly at evenings and weekends, has for a considerable amount of time caused significant delays to bus services.
"Both Arriva and Stagecoach have found that, in the past, diverting the 82 service along Park Lane has allowed services to run much more reliably and has greatly reduced congestion in the area.
"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate this may inconvenience some passengers, particularly those wishing to travel towards Lime Street Station.
"As with any significant change to the bus network we are monitoring the situation closely alongside our partners in the Bus Alliance (Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach). Passenger feedback is always welcomed."