Chester’s free shuttle bus service to end

The subsidised buses service linking the train station with the shops in the city centre will stop on 21 November after 15 years.

The City Rail Link was operated through a partnership involving Cheshire West & Chester Council, Arriva Trains Wales, Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Virgin Trains.

The council said in a statement on Friday the free service is "not being withdrawn by the five partners however the law prevents a subsidised service to be provided where a similar commercial service operates."

The service will be replaced by a commercial service operated by Aintree Coachline charging £1 each way for adults.

Cheshire West & Chester Council will now pay considerably more than the original partnership contribution – up from £38,000 to an estimated £100,000 a year – because it will fund older people and people with disabilities who live in the borough and are entitled to concessionary fares.

Around 450,000 people currently use the bus service a year and under the new arrangements the service will continue to operate to its original timetable, running every six minutes, Monday to Saturday. On the new service up to two children will be able to travel free if travelling with an adult, otherwise the fare will be 65p. Free or reduced fare travel will be available for those customers who are eligible and have valid concessionary travel.

Your Comments

Would like to know who gave Antree coaches the licence to compete on the same route? the council? is it then a case of mismangamnet in the council that the left hand and the right hand not comunicatioing? Individulas loosing out & Chester council tax payers loosing out…..winner Antree coaches!


Unbelievable! Even though the article clearly explains that the route is ending because a private operator has registered a service of their own accord (they do not require the council’s permission for this), and legally the funding partners MUST withdraw their funding, LM still blames the council for it. This is the worst sort of ill-informed, ignorant (and misspelled) prejudice.

By Dave D

Dave D is quite right. Any bus company is free to run any service it wishes – route licensing was abolished 25 years ago. The Council legally cannot subsidise a service if another company is willing to run the same service without subsidy, as in this case. They do, however, have to re-imburse the new operator for the money they don’t collect from people travelling on free passes. This is calculated according to a formula which is applied to all bus operators. It seems to me that the Council has acted completely properly (and legally) in this case.

By John P

Oh well!! Arriva buses it will be then! Their north west & wales weekly tickets are really good!! so guessing the mold bus will be the best option to go on.

By brucey b

Had a nasty shock today coming out of the station… no more free shuttle! And now to read this article, which apparently will cost the council a whole lot more money for the new arrangement! Once again the council screws it up. First the Travelodge and now this.

By Clint H

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