Bus stops should not be cut in response to new Bee Network buses failing to hit targets, a Bolton MP says.

Earlier this week The Bolton News reported that the Bee Network, which running across Bolton, Wigan and parts of Bury and Salford had only hit punctuality targets on 32 of 105 days.

But suggestions that this could be improved by cutting the number of stops have been questioned by Bolton West MP Chris Green, who warned about the effect on passengers.

Mr Green said: “The most important thing is that are most people able to access bus services or is the Holy Grail of the service just punctuality?

“And my concern is that people might have the services they depend on cut so that the powers that be can say that they are delivering a better quality service.”

The Bolton News: Chris Green MP has warned against cutting bus stopsChris Green MP has warned against cutting bus stops (Image: Office of Chris Green MP)

Cutting the number of stops had been suggested by Open Innovations head of data Tom Forth as one way of making sure buses arrive quicker at the remaining stops.

This was one of several solutions he suggested when questions were put to him by The Bolton News about the lateness of Bee Network buses.

Mr Forth also suggested increasing the number of bus lanes, simplifying the use of tickets and adding middle doors on double decker buses.

But though Mr Green has warned that some of these proposals could have unintended knock-on effects for bus passengers, particularly older ones.

He said: “Many people across Bolton will have experienced delays and some have even suggested removing some bus stops to improve punctuality.

“However, this would result in elderly people having to walk twice the distance when going home with heavy shopping and a cashless system would mean that people who use cash cannot use buses.”

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Despite Mr Forth’s suggestions, no plans have been put forward to cut the number of stops.

Transport for Greater Manchester has also said that punctuality figures can be affected by a range of factors like the highway network, road works, weather conditions and school holidays.

A TfGM spokesperson said: “Whilst other innovations such as ticketing technologies and, in particular, the use of central doors on vehicles can speed up journey times, this needs to be balanced with the investment required and, in terms of the latter, can only be delivered if the whole of the area’s stop infrastructure is amended also.

“TfGM remains committed to maximising accessibility to the network and, whilst reviewing stop siting is always beneficial, ensuring the maximum number of passengers can easily access the network in terms of distance to a stop remains a critical outcome.”