Readers may have seen reference to the council-run bus company that went into liquidation after seeing losses rise by more than 1100% in two years?
It happened a few weeks ago. Halton Transport, which ran more than a third of services across the Cheshire borough, lost almost £620,000 in 2019, up from £50,500 in 2017. The Halton Borough Council said it tried to give the firm a “stronger, more sustainable footing” but had failed.
Halton Councillors made a decision on the bus company’s future in a behind-closed-doors meeting but the outcome of that meeting had remained confidential since then, leading to confusion for both passengers and drivers. Now they know!
“As the major shareholder, the council has been supporting the company in an attempt to place it on a stronger, more sustainable footing [but] unfortunately that has not been possible,”
The move, which has put 150 jobs at risk, came after the company had to be bailed out with a £750,000 loan from the council in 2019. All was not lost though as Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said all Merseytravel-funded school routes would continue to run.
Mr Rotheram said he had “taken immediate action” to ensure the school services would continue to run from Monday morning, using Arriva North West and Stagecoach buses. He added that while the Transport Act had “legally prevented” the combined authority from buying Halton Transport, his aim was to “minimise the impact for local people as much as possible”.
All of which might persuade West Lancastrians to consider if being part of Lancashire is the wisest choice. A few years ago Lancashire was in bed with Merseyrail/Merseytravel just to spend over £1million of our taxes renovating Ormskirk Station for those who pay for rail transport, leaving elderly and disabled West Lancastrians still without free off-peak rail travel.
What IS shocking is the “secret confidential behind closed doors” attitude of elected members. Where next?