The recent launch of an “absolutely excellent” new bus service in Biddulph, was a “proud moment” for one of the town’s councillors.
The number 95, which runs from Biddulph to Audley, via Kidsgrove Railway Station and Affinity Shopping Centre in Talke, has already received “the most positive feedback” County Coun Nigel Yates said he had ever had.
As previously reported, County Coun Yates lobbied Staffordshire County Council to fund the new route, which was approved and went out to tender in November.
Bus company, D&G, which took over several routes in Cheshire after Arriva Northwest announced its plans to cut 14 services across the county in February of last year, successfully won the bid.
County Coun Yates said he made sure he was there to meet the first bus at its launch last Monday.
He said: “It’s a very important service which has never happened before in Biddulph, and it provides connectivity to places where people want to go.
“It’s designed for people who need to get to Stoke and Stafford early in the morning for work, so it lines up as a commuter service with Kidsgrove, which is a mainline railway station.”
On weekdays, the 95 service collects passengers from outside Sainsbury’s at 7.20am, and reaches The Avenue near Kidsgrove Railway Station at 7.51am, just in time for Biddolphians to catch the 8.03am rail service to Manchester Piccadilly, or the 8.32am to Stoke-on-Trent.
He explained that the bus also stopped right outside Kidsgrove’s job centre. “Since Biddulph’s job centre closed, people without a car have really struggled to get there, but now there is a direct route to it, which is absolutely excellent.”
County Coun Yates hoped that the new route, which passes through Brown Lees, Harriseahead, Mow Cop, and Chesterton, would encourage those with a bus pass to visit Biddulph for a day trip.
He said: “It’s a very interesting route. From Biddulph on a nice sunny day, you could jump on the bus and go for an explore; the scenery is fantastic.
“You can stop and have a picnic at Mow Cop castle, then jump on the next one and do a bit of shopping at Affinity, then see Audley church; what a fantastic day out!
“And people from Audley can do the same, visit Biddulph Grange Gardens, the high street, Sainsbury’s. It’s a great opportunity for people to see somewhere new.”
As previously reported, a climate change survey commissioned by Staffordshire County Council last year, identified the importance of public transport to residents, after it received the third largest response the county had ever had – with most people saying that they wanted to see improvements to public transport.
County Coun Yates said: “This has been one of my proudest moments since becoming a councillor; definitely. Public transport is always one of the biggest things to come back in any survey about improvements needed, and it also fits in with the climate change agenda of decarbonisation.
“I’ve never had such a high click rate on social media and such positive feedback on something I’ve posted.”