“Dear Andy and Eamonn,
“I am contacting you regarding the update (below) on Little Gem Services, in relation to the 44 and 84 routes.
“I note that no immediate replacement is intended for these services, and the update refers to ‘a range of alternative options available for users of these services’.
“I am requesting you revisit this decision, as these bus services provide an essential lifeline for some of my most vulnerable constituents, and in some areas there is no alternative service.
“In relation to the 84, I am very concerned about the removal of this service. It is the only bus service that covers the southern part of the Old Moat estate, where there are a large number of older residents who rely on the service to access local shops and services in Withington and Chorlton. The area around Minehead Avenue and Dermot Murphy Close is categorised by Southway Housing as a ‘naturally occurring retirement community’ in reference to the large number of older residents who live in the area. There is a large amount of sheltered and older people’s housing, and this service is a vital lifeline for those residents accessing Withington.
“The 84/84A is also the only bus route that specifically serves the Merseybank estate and Darley Avenue areas in Chorlton Park, (one of the most deprived communities in south Manchester) and the route is an important link for those residents wanting to get to Chorlton or Withington district centres.
“In addition, having looked this morning at the 84 bus stop at Dermot Murphy Close, Darley Avenue and Copson Street in Withington, there is no information on these stops to indicate to users that the service is not running. As many of the older residents that use this service will not have access to online information, I would be grateful to know what actions are being taken to inform users of this lack of service.
“In relation to the 44, it is correct that there are a variety of other services that cover parts of the route. However, it is likely that a user trying to replicate a journey on this route would have to make multiple changes of buses to get to their destination. This will of course involve extra cost, in the absence of a London style hopper ticket. This service is an important link for residents to access Wythenshawe Hospital.
“I appreciate that the tender for these services is more expensive than the previous one, but if we want to create a local bus network that serves residents instead of bus companies, these are the kind of essential local services that we need to safeguard. I would ask that urgent thought be given to alternative ways to provide these services.
“I look forward to your reply
“Jeff Smith MP”