'Buses block my shop while drivers go to the chippy - that's just the beginning'
18.03.2023 - 09:43
Kevin Jones points at the bus parked outside his shop.
“There are normally buses in front at all times and it’s so annoying, I don’t see why they stay here,” he says. “They’re here all day non-stop...that’ll be there for three hours."
Kevin runs Atherton Tackle, the fishing supplies shop at the end of Market Street, Atherton. Businesses in the town, in the borough of Wigan, saw a boom after a new bus route was introduced - the V2, back in 2016.
But then the service, part of a guided busway which sees buses run on rails, was cut. And the impact being felt by passengers and businesses has been stark, locals told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
The new timetable, Kevin believes, has left drivers with long periods with nothing to do - and so vehicles end up parked on Market Street.
“It’s impacting business in a negative way," he adds. "Can they not rest in the station is my question. They use the chippy I suppose which is good for that business. Everyone is entitled to a meal but they need a place to go.
“I think cafes benefit more from the service than us. But they shouldn’t be parked here for three to four hours a day.
"The longest one has been parked here is six-and-a-half-hours. That was last summer.
"The problem is people can’t see the shop when they park there. We rely on passing trade and that blocks us. I think they're here because they only go at peak times."
Before the guided busway was introduced, with promises that it would drive regeneration in the borough, Atherton had four direct bus services to Manchester. The introduction of the V2 saw that reduced to one. Now, following the cuts, the V2 only runs at peak times, and doesn't go all the way.
This means passengers bound for Atherton have to