Bus Stops in Macclesfield
Committee : Macclesfield Local Joint Highways & Transportation thDate : 18 January 2007
Contact Officer : Colin Kennington 01244 603723
1. Bus stops are more than just the place where people join and leave the bus network. They are also the ‘shop window’ for bus travel, providing information and being somewhere safe, attractive and convenient place to wait for the bus. If the bus stop is in a good condition, then it sends a message to the public that the bus industry and Council are interested in attracting and looking after passengers, while also helping the visual appeal of the area. Unkempt, dirty and damaged bus stops do the opposite.
2. The Disability Discrimination legislation requires services to be accessible to everyone. This includes bus services. All new buses comply with the legislation, having low floors, wheelchair spaces, high visibility handrails etc. Bus stops have to be made compliant too; this usually means raising the kerb to the same height as the bus entrance, high visibility strips on shelters, wheelchair space and high visibility strips on shelters and dropped crossings so everyone can reach the stop.
3. Experience shows that making bus travel accessible to people with disabilities, actually makes bus travel easier for everyone and significantly increases bus patronage. A major beneficiary has been parents with children in baby buggies as these can simply be wheeled onto buses; a very easy way of getting around.
4. The accessibility improvements are also very important now that bus travel is free for people aged 60 or more at off-peak times. This has generated many more bus trips from people who tend to have greater difficulty climbing steps etc..
5. Cheshire County Council is gradually upgrading bus stops throughout the County to modern accessible standards. It will take many years to upgrade them all as there are a total of 4000 stops.
6. It is important to highlight that bus stops are just part of the overall package to improve bus travel so that more people choose to go by bus. Other aspects include the bus itself, driver skills, information and marketing. In practice, bus quality has risen with new buses (the majority of buses in Macclesfield are of the easy access type), marketing and information have improved and further improvements are being made, e.g. text messaging. Indeed, improved timetable information is routinely provided at upgraded bus stops.
Benefits of improving bus stops
7. The impact of upgrading bus stops was assessed by market research undertaken on the Macclesfield – Bollington corridor and in other parts of
Cheshire. This used ‘before’ and ‘after’ surveys with representative samples
of bus users and non bus user residents. This research showed that people liked the improvements, felt it improved the area, made boarding and alighting easier and encouraged more people to use the bus. The improvements have resulted in bus patronage increasing as shown later in this report.
8. The County Council is judged on its Local Transport Plan and delivery, including specifically the SEMMMS project. Authorities marked as excellent can gain up to 25% extra funding. Making bus travel more attractive should increase Cheshire’s scoring.
Bus Stops in Macclesfield Borough
9. In the Macclesfield Borough area there are a total of 579 bus stops, of stwhich 260 will have been upgraded by the end of this financial year (31
10. The stops and shelters are owned by various parties who are also responsible for their maintenance. Details are in the table below.
Type of stop Owned and Total Number
maintained by Number upgraded
Bus stop pole Cheshire County 338 133
Bus shelter Cheshire County 121 121
Bus shelter Macclesfield Borough 45* 0
Bus Shelter Joint CCC/MBC 2 0
Bus shelter Adshell 8 0
Bus shelter Parish Councils 32 6
Bus shelter Others 3 0
Total 599 260
This still leaves 339 stops to be brought up to standard.
* MBC have no funding for bus shelter improvements, hence their shelters are being replaced by CCC shelters when routes are upgraded.
11. The ‘number upgraded’ is the number that have been upgraded to be fully accessible. In addition, a number of stops have received maintenance improvements such as a new bus stop pole or sign.
12. It has been found that the most cost effective way is to upgrade all the stops on a whole route as a package. From a customers viewpoint this is preferable as the stops where each individual boards and alights are upgraded together (this avoids the situation where a disabled person can board the bus, but not alight at their destination). For the bus operator (and County Council in the case of supported services) this helps justify investment in new buses for a route because of the overall patronage increase). This approach also reduces costs as the cost of moving the civil engineering equipment is the same for working on one stop or 100 stops. Wherever possible, bus stop work is co-ordinated with other works in order to minimise disruption and achieve economies of scale.
13. The procedure used is,
; Consult with bus operators and highway maintenance.
; Draft plans.
; Consult Members and residents.
; Modify and finalise plans after considering comments received.
; Inform people of the final plans.
; Incorporate the work in the contractors workplan.
; Carry out the upgrading.
; Check the work has been carried out correctly and review.
14. This procedure does mean it usually takes a minimum of four months (but usually longer) from starting on a scheme until it is completed. In practise, it is sometimes necessary to carry out the planning and consultation in one financial year and then carry out the work in the following year.
Progress to date
15. The routes upgraded to date are tabulated below. The funding for this work has come from SEMMMS and the Local Transport Plan settlement.
Route Services Year Number of extra bus
Macclesfield – 10 and 2002 66,846
Bollington/Adlington – 392/3 to (up 307%)
Poynton – (Stockport) 2005
Macclesfield – Monks 130 and 2002 Commercial service,
Heath – Alderley Edge part of to data not available
Wilmslow - Handforth 378 2005
Knutsford - Macclesfield 26 2002/03 12,532 (up 27%)
Middlewood – Poynton 191 2005 8,294
– (Stockport) (up 8%)
Upton Priory - 4 2005 Commercial service,
Macclesfield data not available
Hurdsfield - 21 2005 Commercial service,
Macclesfield data not available
Disley - Newtown 199 2006/07 Scheme not yet
Routes yet to be upgraded
16. The routes yet to be upgraded are tabulated below.
Route Service no. Bus stops
Moss Rose - Macclesfield 9 20
Weston Estate - Macclesfield 3 28
Thornton Square area 2 20
Poynton - Bramhall 390 8
Knutsford – Wilmslow - Altrincham 288 64
Chelford - Knutsford 26 16
Macclesfield - Crewe 130 32 in MBC area
Macclesfield - Congleton 99 6 in MBC area
Wilmslow - Airport 200 16
Macclesfield - Kerridge 11 18
Macclesfield - Langley 14 14
Knutsford locals 300 29
Macclesfield – Forest Cottage 1 11
Macclesfield - Buxton 58 14
Macclesfield - Disley 60 15
Macclesfield - Leek 108 8
17. Note the number of bus stops to be upgraded sometimes assumes parts
of the route have already been upgraded. For example, there are only 6 stops
allocated to the 108 service as it assumes the section between Bosley and
Macclesfield will have been upgraded under services 9 and 14.
Requests for further improvements
18. Increasing numbers of requests are being received from Members and
the public to upgrade bus stops; these requests range from a single stop to a
whole route. The requests are listed below in no particular order.
; Wilmslow Road, Handforth near Clay Lane.
; Mobberley, Ring O’Bells.
; Knutsford Road/Alderley Road, Wilmslow.
; Lacey Green.
; Altrincham Road, Wilmslow.
; Chester Road, Poynton.
; Moss Rose Estate.
; Adams Hill, Knutsford.
; Toft Road, Knutsford.
; Morley Green.
; Weston Estate
; Thornton Square area.
Plans for the future
19. It is important to continue upgrading the bus routes as this will,
; Meet public needs.
; Improve accessibility in terms of access to facilities (jobs, healthcare
etc) and to help people with disabilities and baby buggies.
; Improve the environment people live in.
; Improving bus travel increases bus patronage which in turn reduces the
pressure on the County Council’s revenue budget, helps fight rising
traffic congestion and helps bring in further Local Transport Plan
20. Progress depends upon the funding available in future years. Note that some funding sources can only be used in specific areas.
21. Analysing the routes yet to be upgraded on the basis of requests, condition of stops, patronage, potential for growth, route stability, the County’s
Route & Branch Review and funding opportunities suggests that the following five routes should be regarded as a high priority for upgrading.
Route/Area Number Estimated Comments
of stops cost
Moss Rose - 20 ?200,000
Weston Estate - 28 ?300,000
Thornton Square 20 ?200,000 Does not include
area common stops with
Poynton – Bramhall 8 ?100,000
Knutsford – Wilmslow 64 ?700,000 Could be split into 2
- Altrincham sections.
22. The Moss Rose, Weston and Thornton Square routes are all very similar; having run down bus stops, accessible buses but inaccessible bus stops, frequent services, good patronage levels and potential for growth. All are in the SEMMMS buffer area, with part of the Moss Rose route being a core SEMMMS route, therefore giving it a slightly higher priority in terms of funding. The Weston and Thornton Square routes run through the Flowerpot junction which is due to be rebuilt in 2007/08, hence would be sensible to upgrade these routes at the same time.
23. Poynton – Bramhall is a core SEMMMS route, but service levels are low and because of this it will be harder to generate significant numbers of extra passengers. However, the rest of this bus route has largely been upgraded, leaving a small number of very poor quality stops on a very busy road. This
brings down the whole bus network in the area; hence there are wider benefits from implementing this low cost scheme.
24. Knutsford – Wilmslow – Altrincham is partially an important rural service, but also an important local service into the three centres. It also has the scope to develop a SEMMMS link to Manchester Airport. There is generally an adequate hourly service. Many of the bus stops are in a very poor condition; indeed two shelters had deteriorated so much that they had to be removed. There is considerable potential to increase patronage due to new housing developments and employment opportunities, together with increasing travel needs of older rural residents e.g. to visit the Post Office. Being a long route it is an expensive scheme and funding would probably have to be a mix of SEMMMS, MIDMAN, LTP and developer contributions. It may be necessary to phase the work over two or more financial years.
25. Balancing all the factors leads to the following suggested order of upgrading. It assumes the current level of SEMMMS funding grant with around one-third allocated to public transport.
Financial Route Approximate
2007/08 Macclesfield – Moss Rose ?200,000
2007/08 Macclesfield – Weston Estate ?300,000
2008/09 Altrincham – Wilmslow – Knutsford (Phase 1) ?300,000
2008/09 Macclesfield – Thornton Square ?200,000
2009/10 Altrincham – Wilmslow – Knutsford (Phase 2) ?400,000
2009/10 Poynton - Bramhall ?100,000
26. Improving bus travel is important in order to help fight congestion, improve access to healthcare, jobs etc, meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, assist those with disabilities and baby buggies, increase bus patronage and provide LTP finance.
27. Good progress has been made in the Macclesfield Borough Area, but over half (56%) of stops have not yet been upgraded. These need bringing up to modern, attractive and accessible standards.
1 That members note the urgent need to bring the remaining 339 stops in the Macclesfield Borough area up to modern accessible standards.
2 That Members agree the order of priority for upgrading routes as set out in paragraph 25.