Inside Britain's 'WORST' area for transport with no trains, no trams and now no bus service | The Sun

A SMALL northern town could be about to become one of the worst connected in Britain.

Heywood in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, already has no train service or tram line into the city, and its key bus route is soon to be scrapped.

The 163, which connects Heywood, Langley and Middleton with Bury and Manchester and runs every 12 minutes, is facing the chop from April 16.

Residents are up in arms over the decision as they say it's a "lifeline" for their community, where few people own cars.

Non-driver Paul O'Neill, who regularly uses the service to visit his parents, said public transport in the area is bad enough as it is.

He told the MEN through the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "The service from Heywood to anywhere is quite poor from Diamond Buses so scrapping or partly scrapping one of the services they do have seems odd.


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"I was in Middleton having been running on Saturday and there were a couple of old ladies at the bus stop saying they didn’t know what they were going to do."

Another commuter, who works in Manchester and relies on the 163 every day, agreed it was "a big worry".

They added: "It's a lengthy journey. If they get rid of it, I won't be able to go to work.

"It’s the only service to Manchester – we have no trains, no trams – so it's vital, a lifeline for people."

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Student Leona Whittle will also face issues getting to lectures at Manchester University, and Hope Groarke will need to find another way of travelling to college.

And mum Donna Chadwick may not be able to take herkids out at all.

The event organiser, said: "A lot of people, including myself and my children, depend on the 163.

"This is scaring a lot of people."

Councillors Liam O'Rourke and Phil Burke, who represent Heywood and West Middleton respectively, are leading the fight to save the bus.

Coun Burke, the council’s transport spokesperson, said: "I am dismayed at the decision, which will increase social isolation, reduce connectivity and impact older and vulnerable people the most.

"This short-sighted move will leave only one daytime bus service between Heywood and Manchester and no buses directly linking Bury with Middleton.

"I know from speaking with residents in my Langley ward how vital the 163 bus is for people getting to work, catching up with friends or going on their weekly shop.

"I have urgently raised this issue with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to call for action to be taken to safeguard the service, which is one of the busiest run by Diamond Buses, and provides such an important lifeline for so many people."

We have no trains, no trams – so the 163 bus is vital, a lifeline for people.

While Coun O'Rourke added: "The 163 is vital for connecting Heywood and Middleton to the wider city region.

"Hopefully TfGM can resolve this soon."

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham confirmed on Twitter that he is "intervening", adding: "We're working on a solution."

Diamond said it "fully understood" the campaign but blamed "uncertainty" surrounding franchising and a shortage of staff.

A spokesperson added: "The 163 is a service that brings communities together.

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"In this circumstance we have had to make this tough decision for the service and network that we currently run to ensure that we run a reliable and sustainable network across our network."

The Sun has approached the TFGM and council for comment.

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