BUS operators in Winsford claim they will improve services after being taken to task by residents and Cllr Malcolm Gaskill.

After slamming Arriva’s running of the town’s buses in June, the Liberal Democrat member for Swanlow urged residents to keep a diary of how poor the service has been.

And from the feedback he has received, it is the number 29 bus between Northwich and Over St John’s that is causing residents the most strife.

Cllr Gaskill said: “After the last Guardian report, which was well received, I felt it was no good just getting anecdotes – I needed dates, times and the number of the bus.

“So people went away and they have told me about the occasions where the bus has failed to turn up and the number of times it has broken down.

“There is no suggestion that anybody gets any refund – it’s just not good enough.”

Cllr Gaskill received feedback from a number of residents – including pensioners and a college student.

In the past two months, one passenger was left waiting for the 10.18am on three occasions, plus the 8.18am on a Saturday morning at Cambridge Avenue, and the 10.10am service at Winsford Library.

And on August 23, the number 29 from Northwich was overheating so badly that passengers were told the engine was at 120 degrees and ordered to get off in Winsford town centre, leaving customers heading to Over St John’s stranded.

Cllr Gaskill added: “These failures of reliability and non-arrival are usually dismissed as ‘driver did not turn up’. Mechanical breakdown and overheating engines are something else.

“The traffic commissioners as part of the driver and vehicle standards agency – who are responsible for ensuring that public service vehicles are maintained to the standards required – have advised me they would be interested to hear of any concerns I may have regarding passenger safety.”

But bosses at Arriva insist the number 29 bus is a priority for them – and that the service could be about to turn a corner.

An Arriva spokesman said: “We pride ourselves on running efficient and reliable services for all passengers and take complaints of this nature very seriously.

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“We are currently implementing a number of organisational changes to the operation of service 29, as well as undertaking a major recruitment drive locally which we believe will greatly improve reliability and punctuality for our customers.

“We thank those affected for their continued patience whilst we work hard to deliver the service they deserve, and welcome the opportunity to work more closely with Cllr Gaskill to ensure greater clarity across our local network.”