Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, has branded the current situation in Cannock Chase, which has resulted in no Sunday bus services, as ludicrous.
Following Staffordshire County Council’s removal of their subsidy for some local bus routes, Arriva then made the decision to withdraw a number of services across Cannock Chase, including all Sunday services, stating that these services were no longer commercially viable. The Cannock Chase MP has since met with Arriva to request that they go back to the drawing board and determine a new model for Sunday Services across Cannock Chase.
Amanda Milling MP said: "The situation is ludicrous. It is simply unacceptable that there are no bus services in and around Cannock Chase on a Sunday. I recently met with representatives from Arriva, stating my total and utter dissatisfaction with the situation and urging them to have a complete rethink. Arriva need to look again at the routes they offer and think 'outside of the box' to find a solution which will deliver all important bus services which members of the public value and rely on. If existing routes are not viable, then they need to go back to the drawing board and assess where there is demand. I can't help thinking they need to look at bus travel in our area differently, and rather than looking at the current services and working from there, looking in a much more forward-thinking way and creating a new model for bus services. There are multiple ways of achieving this and they have committed to review all options. Whatever solutions they come up with, we need to see our Sunday services return.”
The Cannock Chase MP also wants Arriva to look at how their services interlink with the rail network and various other local destinations needing bus connections, such as the Orbital Retail Park and the Mill Green designer retail outlet village, which is to open in a few years’ time. Once the electrification works are complete on the Chase Line, the frequency of trains will improve. Amanda Milling MP believes that the Chase Line can provide inter-town connections between Rugeley, Hednesford, Cannock, Walsall and Birmingham. However, the local bus network must then provide onward connections for passengers to get to and from their homes and other areas where there are no stations, such as Norton Canes.
Amanda Milling MP added: “One of many complaints people make is that the bus services don't connect with train services on the Chase Line. With the electrification of the Chase Line being completed this year and a more frequent service being rolled out between now and the end of the year it is an ideal time for Arriva to look at how bus services can connect with the rail service."
The Cannock Chase MP concluded: "The time has come to put an end to this salami slicing of existing bus services. It is not the solution. Arriva must now go back to the drawing board and start again, and look at future bus travel in and around Cannock Chase which will deliver the services that people want and will use.”