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Number 27 service between Macclesfield and Knutsford is saved by GHA Coaches
A VITAL bus service which links Knutsford to Macclesfield has been saved after a bus company decided to take it on.
GHA Coaches, which has a depot in Middlewich, will run the 27, 27A and 27B service that will serve Knutsford, Ollerton, Over Peover, Chelford and Macclesfield.
It will take the same route as the bus used to do before it was changed in early February.
The service currently operated by High Peak Buses is ending on April 3.
Stuart Hyslop, chief executive of GHA, told the Guardian the route was part of the firm’s expansion into the area.
“We had a look at the figures that were supplied to us and we felt we could offer the council a zero tender,” he said.
“We’re opening a new depot in Winsford and one in Macclesfield and we also run the 88 Altrincham to Knutsford service.
“We can also bulk-buy things cheaper than other operators because we run so many services.”
Bus users have been left disappointed, however, after it was revealed that the service will run every two hours, instead of the current frequency of every 90 minutes.
Mr Hyslop pointed out his firm was following what was requested in the original tender that was released by Cheshire East Council.
Transport officer Chris Williams, from Cheshire East Council, explained the situation to Knutsford Town Council on Monday.
He responded to a statement read out from Derek Empson, a member of the transport group of Knutsford Town Plan, who expressed concern that the timing for the one bus, two-hour timetable was very tight.
Mr Empson said: “The proposed timetable includes virtually no waiting time at Knutsford bus station to absorb any delays accumulated on the way from Macclesfield – we feel this should be reviewed.”
Mr Williams said the council had gone out to tender on the service and had reached an agreement with a bus company.
But the authority had been left with no say on the matter as soon as GHA Coaches announced it was to run the service commercially due to clauses in the 1985 Transport Act.
He said the council could take action further down the line if the service was not punctual and added he would be speaking with GHA Coaches.
The new timetable can be found online at ghacoaches.co.uk/Time tables/027MF12A.html.