The only express bus service between Runcorn and Liverpool is under threat for the second time in six months. Operator MP Travel is unplugging the X1 from April 2, blaming pressures such as rising fuel costs, a lack of drivers and low passenger numbers.
The company had planned to scrap the service last September, but was granted an 11-hour reprieve, with Halton Council agreeing to step in and subsidize what was a reduced schedule. There was a fierce public backlash at the time, with a petition set up by East Runcorn MP Mike Amesbury garnering over 1,250 signatures.
The X1 was also threatened in 2019, again winning a reprieve due to public pressure, with then-operator Arriva backtracking on its phasing out plans. A spokesperson for MP Travel told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We have given notice to cancel the X1 from April 1.
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“It has been left to the local authority whether they want another operator to take over the service.”
He added: ‘We haven’t had the best passenger numbers and the industry alone is struggling with drivers leaving for the HGV sector. Fuel prices are outrageous for us to operate we should consider doubling the fares – which is just ridiculous.
The spokesman said recent incidents of anti-social behavior had not been a factor in the decision, adding: ‘Since Cheshire Police carried out an operation on the bus lane we have experienced little ASB (antisocial behavior) in the last two months.”
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