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Arriva announce plans to close Skelmersdale bus depot
20 April 2011

By David Simister






Bus firm Arriva has been accused of putting profit before customers  by a Skelmersdale councillor after it announced plans to close its depot in the town.
 

The bus operator is proposing to close its Neverstitch Road depot in the town where vehicles and staff for many of the company's West Lancashire services are currently based.

A company statement said the decision was being made to cut costs and added that it was partly due to the loss of tendered work in the town.

It is understood that around 100 people work at the depot and staff have been consulted.

The firm insists the move will not affect bus services in the town, but Skelmersdale councillor Neil Furey, accused the public transport provider of being more interested in shareholders and profits than its customers or ongoing plans to regenerate the town.

The borough councillor for Skelmersdale North said: “Skelmersdale has no railway station and is completely dependant on a strong bus network.

"Important bus services may be cut or become unreliable if services are being managed from Liverpool or Southport.

"I don’t accept that loss of tendered work in the Skelmersdale area has contributed to this proposal. Tendered work is always up for grabs and can be lost one year and regained the next.

"As for rising costs, Arriva has usually managed these by increasing passenger fares and increases in council subsidies.

"Skelmersdale is set to see major investment in its town centre, together with the new college that opens later this year.

"Unfortunately, Arriva appear more concerned with shareholders and profits than bus users in Skelmersdale."

Arriva issued a statement saying it was in consultation with its staff over a possible closure of the Neverstitch Road depot.

An Arriva spokesperson said: "In order to protect bus services in the area, Arriva North West is working hard to minimise the impact of rising costs by carefully looking at how the business can operate in the most efficient way.

"Following a review of overheads and the loss of some tendered work in the Skelmersdale area, the company has completed a network review.

"As a result Arriva has entered into consultation with staff about the possible closure of its Skelmersdale depot.

"Cost savings generated from transferring these services to other depots is the best way identified to ensure services remain commercially viable, protecting services for the local community and the employment of the majority of people providing them.

"The company does not expect any significant changes to services or timetables in the Skelmersdale area, and hopes to re-deploy as many employees as possible.“
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has alspoken of her shock saying:

"This has come as a great shock as I am sure it has to the staff and passengers of Arriva.

"I have already been in contact with the bus company management and will work with Arriva to ensure wherever possible to keep the jobs and services for West Lancashire residents.

"We cannot afford to lose any vital bus services here in West Lancashire."

What do you think? Let us know by calling 01704 392404 or send an email to david.simister@champnews.com

 


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