Passengers in Greater Manchester are still missing more than 100 bus services a day as an operator continues to cut services amid a staffing crisis. Rosso, which operates routes mainly in the north of the conurbation, had already cut nearly 200 trips as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, and the night was expected to bring more cancellations.
The Manchester Evening News reported on Tuesday how Rosso had cut more than 800 trips last week. The operator, a subsidiary of Transdev Blazefield, said he expected the problem to have “severely abated” by next week. But bosses still had their hiring challenges to overcome as of the middle of this week.
Many of the discarded services are those subsidized by taxpayers, meaning they generate less profit but are considered vital community routes. Until Wednesday afternoon there had been 193 cancellations in total, while throughout Tuesday there were 133. MENS has repeatedly asked Rosso for guidance on which services are likely to be canceled in the coming days to put passengers on notice, but they have yet to respond.
READ MORE: Greater Manchester bus operator cancels over 800 services in just one week as they battle staff shortages
Among a series of cancellations on Wednesday night, nine Trax 468 services between Rochdale and Bury were cancelled; 14 journeys on the 469 line from Tottington were facing cut-off, and eight scheduled journeys on the B2 Bury to Mount Pleasant route had also been scrapped.
It comes as Mayor Andy Burnham and other Greater Manchester leaders prepare to take control of the buses following a legal ruling in March. It paves the way for sweeping changes to the way services are run in Greater Manchester, with decisions about timetables and fares in the hands of transport bosses rather than operators.
Meanwhile, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is looking to outsource affected Rosso services to other operators, while also prioritizing keeping school buses running. On Tuesday, Stephen Rhodes, Director of Customer Services and Acting Head of Bus Services at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), described Rosso’s ‘significant operational difficulties’, adding: “This has included many subsidized services, which are run in areas and at times where there is a lack of alternatives, which means that the impact is felt most deeply by those who most depend on them.
“We are working with the operator to prioritize these routes as well as school bus services to minimize the impact on the local community as much as possible. The situation changes daily and I encourage passengers to check with the operator to ensure they have the latest information before travelling.”
On Wednesday, the M.EN asked Rosso which services are likely to be removed this week, but he did not answer. On Tuesday, a spokesman said they had operated “at least 80 per cent” of their trips in the past week, adding: “For what we apologize to our customers, this is a far cry from our usual standards. It indicates the strength of the challenge.” facing our industry. faces in terms of recruitment.
“All public transport operators are affected by this across the UK, but the difference here is that while most operators have reduced schedules in recent months, we are trying to increase – that’s why the problem is more The issues are despite our best efforts, including an increase in drivers’ wages by 20% in the last 18 months.
“We expect the issue to have severely subsided by next week with a target of 100% coverage and we are working together with our sister carriers, TfGM and other carriers to overcome this very short term issue in a 10 day period. We are updating.” customers in real time with live departure tracking and outages posted on the Transdev Go app and on rossobus.es .”
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