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It was recently announced that Arriva will no longer provide the 535 and 537 bus routes through Belmont and Astley Bridge from 30th August.

I have heard from local residents who are extremely worried about the withdrawal of these key services. There are clear concerns that this decision could leave some elderly residents cut off from the rest of the town with no other public transport options available.

The 537 runs off Blackburn Road up Ashworth Lane and Thornham Drive, while the 535 goes up Belmont Road through Sharples and ends at Belmont. Without these services many residents would be left with a fairly substantial walk to access any other buses.

These buses are a lifeline for many local residents and I am very concerned that Arriva have chosen to walk away because they don’t think they are making enough money. Our bus network is a public service and these are routes that people depend on.

I have written to Transport for Greater Manchester to ask them to ensure that these routes are still provided for. I understand that they are putting the service out to tender, but I want to know what happens if no suitable company steps forward? There are only a few weeks until Arriva step away and local residents need assurances that they will still be able to get around.

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