Chester free buses end ….

Posted on November 8th, 2011, by The Chairman

We hear from various sources, including Jen on this Blog that the Chester free buses from the railway station to the city centre end on 20 November.

A new service starts the following day operated by Aintree Coachlines and registered as Route 40. (In the “old days”, route c40 was from the Town Hall to “Upton Zoo”).

The free connection from the railway station at Chester to the city was one of the very first, if not the first, free bus service like this. That was around 15 years ago.

We wonder if it was time for the contract to be renegotiated and for the dedicated vehicles which are around 15 years old to be replaced. We understand the costs were shared by the council and by the train operators based on their numbers of services into Chester.

We also understand that with Aintree Coachways registering the service, the council would not be allowed to subsidise a competing service.

The new service starts on 21 November with fares of £1 each way for adults, and free for holders of English Concessionary Bus Passes. Holders of Welsh passes will have to pay (or walk!), but then holders of English passes have to pay in Wales apart from on services which start or finish in England.

What a shame this free and heavily-used service has had to die!

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Press release from Chester West & Chester Council received on 14/11/11 – CHANGES TO FREE CHESTER CITY RAIL LINK BUS

Please leave a comment

  1. Brian Says:

    I had heard that it was Helms Coaches.

  2. Jen Says:

    It does say Aintree Coachlines on the Cheshire West council website, although Helms are part of the same company. It’s a bit like GHA and Vale Travel – service 289 Northwich-Knutsford-Altrincham is operated by GHA while service 88 Knutsford-Wilmslow-Altrincham is operated by Vale Travel, even though sometimes you can see GHA branded buses running route 88.

  3. The Chairman Says:

    Hi, Jen! The GHA vehicle you see on the route 88 has been brought in to cover for one of the 3 dedicated vehicles that crashed into a garden shed after hitting a pothole on Mobberley Road in Knutsford after United Utilities roadworks and was seriously damaged. Fortunately, no-one was badly hurt, just shaken up.

  4. The Chairman Says:

    I’ve just received a Press Release from Chester West & Chester Council on this subject.

    I’ve added it at the bottom of the post above.

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