A Labour MP has written to transport secretary Patrick McLouglin about a ‘gradual erosion of Bolton’s public transport’ after night bus services to Manchester city centre were withdrawn.
David Crausby, Labour MP for Bolton, also complained about ‘severe overcrowding’ faced by the town’s rail commuters, following delays to an electrification project.
Bolton MP David Crausby
In his letter, Mr Crausby wrote: ‘Across Bolton we have seen more and more cases of private bus operators withdrawing from routes that are valued highly by local residents and a lack of alternative provision. The most recent example of this has been First Bus withdrawing from the Night Bus routes between Manchester City Centre and Bolton.’
He added: ‘I am certain that you will attempt to lay the blame for such changes with the bus companies involved or with Transport for Greater Manchester, but the fact remains that cuts forced upon local authorities by your Government have seen funding for supported services in Greater Manchester cut by 20% in the last two years.’
Mr Crausby said that delay to an electrification project in the area ‘has caused yet more frustration for passengers’.
He said local rail operators insisted they had no extra rolling stock and asked Mr McLoughlin to ‘consider providing support in the form of extra diesel carriages in the interim’.
He added: 'If there is any conviction behind your rhetoric about a Northern Powerhouse I look forward to your interventions to improve our rail capacity and the provision of supported bus services.'
Mr Crausby also complained that transport minister Andrew Jones ‘seems unable to answer’ his written parliamentary questions about the future transport grant for a devolved Greater Manchester.
Last month Mr Crausby asked ministers what estimate they had made of the consolidated local transport budget for Greater Manchester after implementation of the devolution deal, both in total and per capita.
Mr Jones replied: ‘ A detailed breakdown of the grant for Greater Manchester will be set out by ministers shortly.’
The DfT was approached for a response.