Metro Mayor steps in to save ‘vital’ bus services

Full list of changes to bus services in Liverpool city region from September is published with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram stepping in to save ‘vital’ services. Tony McDonough reports

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A Stagecoach bus departs St Helens bus station


Liverpool city region’s two biggest bus operators have confirmed changes that will be made to bus routes from September.

In June it was revealed that a number of services in the city region would be reduced in the autumn. This is because extra Government support given to commercial bus operators during the pandemic is coming to an end.

Now the two main operators, Arriva and Stagecoach, have finalised number of changes to routes across Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. Theywill begin on Sunday, September 4.

A number of services considered to be ‘vital routes’ have been protected from the proposals after Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority stepped in to provide funding support to save them.

These include the 492 and 495 to Birkenhead, 37 from St Helens to Eccleston and the 76 and 78 from Halewood to Liverpool city centre.

Under the current deregulated bus system private companies have control over aspects such as routes, timetables and fares. Earlier this year the Combined Authority voted in favour of moving to a franchise structure. If approved by the Government this would end the privatisation introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government in 1986.

A full list of the final changes and more information on why the latest  review has taken place can be found by clicking here. A summary of some of the key changes to the original plans are as follows:


  • 492/495 Birkenhead – Noctorum Circulars to remain at every 30 minutes due to Combined Authority funding.
  • 37 St Helens – Eccleston will not be withdrawn; will serve Eccleston every 60 minutes and then extend up to Rainford. Service 38 will operate every 60 minutes, meaning two buses per hour from Rainford into St Helens and a 30 minute service along Kiln Lane. Rainford Junction will have a 60 minute service. This is possible due to Combined Authority funding.
  • 44 & 49 Crossens – Formby/Woodvale will remain unchanged.
  • 76 & 78 Halewood – Liverpool will remain at 30 minutes Monday-Friday daytime due to Combined Authority funding.
  • 310 Liverpool – Skelmersdale will be unchanged (Proposed to reduce to every 60 minutes beyond Maghull).
  • 300 Liverpool – Southport will be unchanged (Saturday frequency reduction was originally proposed).
  • 352 St Helens – Orrell/Wigan will remain at every 15 minutes Monday-Friday and just reduce to every 30 minutes on a Saturday (weekday frequency reduction was originally proposed).
  • 79 – Short journeys will terminate at Wood Lane rather than at Belle Vale meaning an 8-minute service between Liverpool and Wood Lane Monday-Friday daytime, with a 16 minute service extending through to Halewood.


  • 17 Liverpool – Kirkby Industrial Park will have revisions to the proposed timetable to better accommodate shift times

In addition to these changes, the Combined Authority has proposed funding to retain the frequencies of the 204 & 61. Discussions are on-going with the operators to achieve this, but it will not be possible before the September change date.

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