THE brakes have been put on a number of bus services across Bolton as Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) look to save £7.1 million over the next two years.

Transport bosses and councillors claim to have identified ‘underused’ routes across Bolton.

These could be re-routed or scrapped as the authority tries to save 20 per cent of its supported bus services budget until 2016.

Chiefs say the cuts are a consequence of a freeze in the levy given by Bolton Council and the other nine Greater Manchester local authorities for the next 24 months, meaning TFGM has less money at its disposal.

Proposals include:

  • Changing the route of the 512, which travels from Bury to Bolton via Farnworth, to run between Bury and Royal Bolton Hospital only.
  • Shortening the route of the 513, which operates between Bolton and Bury between Farnworth, Ringley and Whitefield, so it goes between Bury and Farnworth bus station only.
  • Rerouting of the number 68 between Bolton and the Trafford Centre via Lumber Lane, to serve Roe Green.
  • Stopping the number 515, which currently runs between Middlebrook and Ladybridge Circular via Bolton. TFGM plan to replace it with an additional hourly short journey on the 715 between Bolton and Ladybridge and the 574 between Bolton and Middlebrook via Markland Hill
  • Cancelling the 515X between Bolton and Middlebrook and replacing it with early morning and evening peak journeys on the new service.
  • Scrapping the East Bolton Local Link, launched in October to serve the Chapeltown Road area, from July.
  • Shortening the 537, which currently goes between Bolton and Bromley Cross, to stop at Bank Top only via Ashworth Lane, Thornham Drive and Sharples Hall Drive. The frequency is being increased from half hourly to every 15 minutes.

Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton’s representative on the TFGM committee, said the organisation had to save money like any other local authority.

He added: “There is a fine line between running services and getting value for money.

“With the number of passengers on these services, it is hard to justify keeping them as they are.”

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM Committee, said the organisation was under ‘huge pressure’ to make savings in the face of national spending cuts.

He added: “We are committed to working with partners to deliver excellent public transport and the last thing any of us wants to see is fewer essential bus services on our roads.

“That’s why the approach we are taking is to drive efficiencies in the way we deliver services rather than simply making cuts. But that’s not to say we won’t face some difficult decisions when it comes to spending on individual services.”