BUS users in the Stone area who feared the loss of vital connections will see better services from the end of this month, Staffordshire County Council has said.
Journeys between Stone and Longton will increase from two to seven a day, while a new hourly service, the 23/23A, will replace the current X5 route from Stone to Hanley and call at Barlaston, Longton, Fenton, Blurton and Fenton .
The 841 between Stafford and Uttoxeter - a vital link for Great Haywood and Hixon residents – will double in frequency to an hourly service. But the once daily diversion into Gayton village is being withdrawn following a review of usage.
Residents of Stone’s Cherryfields estate will keep their link with Stone town centre, which is being increased to five journeys a day. And services 1 and 2, serving Walton, Oulton and Aston Lodge, will be half hourly.
The changes are in response to a review of Stone area services subsidised by the county council, carried out at the start of this year, and come into force on April 28.
Deputy leader Councillor Ian Parry, who represents the Stone Rural ward, said: “By going through this consultation and retendering exercise, we have made sure we continue to offer the services that local people want, but at the same time offer better value for money. We have listened to local people who said quite clearly that they wanted services to remain.
“Not only have we done this, we have created an optimum service that will be more consistent, reliable and is ultimately represents the best value for money for council taxpayers. The task for local people now is to make the best of these services and use them as much as they can.”
The services which were reviewed
Stone Town Circular: Service 1 Stone – Stonefield Circular
Service 2 Stone – Aston Lodge Circular
Service 3 Stone – Oulton Cross Circular
Service 5 Stafford – Hopton – Weston - Hixon
Service 249 Stone – Fulford – Blythe Bridge – Stallington - Longton
Service 250 Walton – Stone – Meir - Longton
Service 402/428 - Uttoxeter – Draycott - Burton
Service 403 - Abbots Bromley - Burton
Service 490 Stone – Swynnerton – Cotes Heath - Stafford
Service 841Stafford – Great Haywood – Hixon - Uttoxeter
Service X5 Hanley – Stoke – Barlaston – Stone – Eccleshall - Newport
Changes coming into force from April 28
1. Services 1 & 2: Walton, Oulton and Aston Lodge will have a half-hourly service
Stonefields will have an hourly service provided by one operator with a more consistent timetable and better level of service. Cherryfields benefits from an increase to five journeys per day to Stone town centre.
2. Services 4: Stone – Longton will have 7 journeys a day when previously that had only 2 journeys a day
Longton – Stone will have 8 journeys a day
Stallington, Draycott and Cresswell will have 2 services a day with an off-peak link maintained for Draycott, Stallington, Cresswell, Fulford and Blythe Bridge.
These services will operate from Monday to Saturday, will incorporate services 249 and 250 and will be provided by Bennett’s Coaches.
3. Service 23/23A will be an hourly service to Hanley serving Barlaston, Longton, Blurton and Fenton.
A 2 hourly service to Eccleshall via Yarnfield, which remains the same level of service.
1 return journey on Schooldays from Stone to Newport via Yarnfield and Eccleshall. We are funding an extension to First’s existing 23/23A Hanley to Newstead service which offers a better value for money option for replacing the X5. Passengers will benefit from being able to buy First’s Day/Week/Month tickets enabling interchange to their other services. Also, valid Rail tickets to and from Barlaston and Wedgwood will be accepted.
This service will operate from Monday to Saturday and will be provided by First.
4. Service 490/435 will operate an hourly service between Stone and Stafford either via Swynnerton, Eccleshall and Norton or Sandon, Weston, Salt and Hopton with an introduction of a service into Sandon.
This service replaces services 5 and 490. Valid rail tickets to and from Norton Bridge will continue to be accepted.
This service will operate from Monday to Saturday and will be provided by Bennett’s Coaches.
5. Service 402/402A/403 will be an hourly service between Uttoxeter and Burton either via Marchington, Draycott-in-the-Clay, Tutbury or Abbots Bromley, Newborough, Needwood
A new link between Abbots Bromley and Burton is created to replace the withdrawn link on service 428. This maintains access to shops and services and provides a new link to Queen’s Hospital, Burton.
This service will operate from Monday to Friday and will be provided by Midland Classic. A further announcement will be made about the Saturday service to be provided.
6. Service 841 will be a broadly hourly service between Stafford and Uttoxeter serving Great Haywood and Hixon. Following a review of usage, the once a day diversion into Gayton village is withdrawn.
This service will offer a significant frequency enhancement as the current service between Stafford and Uttoxeter operates 2 hourly. Hixon maintains the hourly link to Stafford currently provided and gains additional buses to Uttoxeter.
This service will operate from Monday to Saturday and will be provided by D & G.
7. The Needwood Forest area will be provided with a ‘Dial-a-Ride’ service operating from between 0800 and 1800hrs serving the communities north and south of the B5234 including:
To the North: Gorsty Hill, Marchington, Hanbury, Hanbury Woodend and Anslow
To the South: Admaston, Colton, Blithbury, Hampstell Ridware, Hoarcross, Hadley End, Newchurch , Woodlane, Tattenhall and Tunstall.
This service will provide an improved service for those communities which previously only had a service on certain days of the week giving them greater journey opportunities.
This service will operate from Monday to Saturday and will be provided by Mobility Link East Staffs.
Other commercial routes covering the area will remain unchanged.