Working together, Halton Borough Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) have ensured that the popular X1 express bus service can continue.

Operator MP Travel had taken a short-notice decision to cancel the Runcorn to Liverpool service from this Saturday, but the Council and the CA entered into talks with the company to try and stop this happening. The successful outcome is that the service will be reinstated, on a reduced timetable.

MP Travel took over the service from Arriva earlier this year, intending to grow the service and make it commercially viable. However, in August MP Travel reduced the timetable from every 40 minutes to every 60 minutes, due to driver shortages.

Finally, citing anti-social behaviour issues, driver shortages and a lack of funding, MP Travel took the decision to de-register the service with effect from 25/09/21.

Once the Council and the CA were made aware of this, both parties entered into discussions with MP Travel and the result of this is that a reduced timetable of seven journeys a day in each direction has now been agreed.

 Cllr Stef Nelson, Halton Council’s portfolio holder for Transportation, says: “We could not let this popular service end – it’s the only express service between Halton and Liverpool. So, by working together, the Council, the combined authority and the bus company came up with a solution to keep it going.”

A Combined Authority Spokesperson said: “Bus driver shortages are having an impact on bus services nationally and we’re working hard with operators to minimise this impact on services within the city region.

“As soon as we became aware of MP Travel’s plans to de register the X1 service, we entered into discussions with them and Halton Borough Council about potential options. As a result,  a revised timetable is in place which is good news for passengers.

“We know that changes to bus services can have huge impacts on peoples’ lives, which is why communities should always be consulted when changes are planned.

“We’ll be monitoring the services over the coming weeks and regular users of the X1 should familiarise themselves with the new timetable and plan their journeys.”