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It’s all change on the buses

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 22, 2013

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BUS routes between three towns are to be operated by different companies from September.

The changes are taking place as part of a five-year re-tendering process by Staffordshire County Council, which last saw routes allocated in 2008.

The routes affected are the Leek to Cheadle and the Leek to Macclesfield service.

The council stated that bus passengers in Leek area will see no major changes in local bus services, other than minor timetabling, as new companies begin running the services from September.

The bus service 108 Macclesfield to Leek is to be operated by Taxico, trading as Aimees, and the 234/5/6 bus services from Cheadle to Leek will be run by Wardles.

These bus services were previously provided by Clowes Coaches of Longnor.

County councillor, Simon Tagg, cabinet support member for transport and connected county, said: “We are committed to improving the county’s public transport network for the benefit of all Staffordshire residents and visitors.

“The county council is working in partnership with bus operators to ensure that the travelling needs of residents are met and value for money achieved for council taxpayers, as well as encouraging more bus journeys.”

However the changes have brought fears for residents living in rural areas.

Councillor Linda Malyon, whose ward takes in a large area of the Cheadle to Leek service, said she was disappointed that a Moorlands-based business had lost the contract after looking after many senior citizens during the last five years.

She said: “There are a lot of senior citizens using these services. They are more than a coach journey as the drivers look after senior citizens by helping them on and off the bus as people have got to know all the drivers.

“I am disappointed that Clowes have lost the contract after doing such a good job and offering a good service to the area.

“There are many isolated people in rural areas, including Foxt, Ipstones, Whiston and Froghall, which covers a lot of people.

“I hope that the new company, Wardles, will keep the same number of trips and that none are dropped in any of the villages.”

Gill Heath, who is the county councillor for Leek Rural and also the a cabinet support member for rural affairs, said the contracts were up for tender after completing the five years tender period.

Mrs Heath said: “The contracts were due to be renewed after the completion of five years. The terms are set before the tendering programme begins and the county council lays down a strict criteria. The services will be monitored by the authority.”

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