- 18 Feb 2013
Think you'll struggle to cover 12 miles in c.30 mins especially between Barnton and Northwich and the loop around the town centre, especially with the junction/lights over the Weaver.I don't think the demand would be there for high frequency or anything like that but using 1 bus, I think a 70 minute frequency would be doable.
I think that Northwich could be a good connection point for passengers and it has some of the bigger shops which Runcorn doesn't have. Also home to John Dene college which has a college bus from the Runcorn area.
You then have Winnington Urban Village which has thousands of homes. These people all work somewhere. Barton I think does have some people travelling to Runcorn. This isn't fully seen though because it's car traffic.
Barton to Preston Brook is basically no demand, I agree.
Preston Brook has a lot of businesses employing a lot of people and a decent amount would live in the Northwich area. Join the busway then at Brookvale and you could get some demand there from shorter distance passengers hopping to Halton Lea.
On the face of it, it may not seem like a huge opportunity but it has a lot of existing short distance flows to protect the service and hopefully make it viable quicker. You are then linking a town to a fair size employment zone. You finally are linking 2 towns where the demand is not fully seen because there is no public transport. Halton Hospital is also closer to Barton than Leighton Hosp so that may work in their favour for some health demand. I know Victoria Infirmary doesn't do much and Leighton might be the main but it's always worth remembering the minor hospitals which offer a decent amount of services. You could probably finally add that Northwich to Liverpool demand could be added onto that so by changing buses once in Runcorn, people can be in Liverpool in 90 minutes or so which could be a bit more demand (Airport similarly is accessible by changing once at Halton Lea).
Connections, Medical/Health links, Commuter links, College links. That is a fair amount of demand there. I can see why you would say there doesn't seem like much demand and off face value, it doesn't seem like it but as you delve deeper, there is a good few areas for demand, it just needs to be done properly and not just put a service on for the sake of it and then scrap it because no one is using it. You need to put money and effort into the service for it to work.
Unfortunately, Leighton Hospital is where you tend to be referred to rather than Halton because of the hospital trust.
I've not had a wander round Northwich for a few years but when I lived there, it was a draw for people from Winsford but it's nothing exceptional.