Local residents attended a public meeting in Aigburth to discuss a campaign to keep their existing 82 bus route - and vowed to put "non violent direct action" on the table if the proposed changes get the go-ahead.

The meeting, held at Grace Family Church on Aigburth Road on Monday was attended by dozens of members of the local community, as well as some local councillors.

In a show of cross-party support for the campaign, Liverpool Green councillor Tom Crone and Labour councillor Elizabeth Hayden shared a platform to lend their backing to residents, many of whom spoke of their "devastation" at the proposed changes.

The event, which meeting facilitator Ritchie Hunter described as "very well attended", included speeches from councillors and members of the public talking about the impact of route changes and their plans to oppose the measures.

Action points included an agreement to consider "non violent direct action" as a last resort, with pensioners vowing to close down roads and even occupy buses if they are unable to resolve the ongoing issue.

Other plans presented at the meeting include lobbying local councillors, bus companies and Merseytravel ahead of a meeting at Liverpool Town Hall in December.

Local residents have come together to oppose changes to the 82 bus route

The controversy centres around proposed changes to the route of the 82 bus, which would see the 82 turning down Park Lane and straight into Paradise bus station at Liverpool One like the current 82C - and bypassing the current route along Renshaw Street and Hanover Street that takes people into the shopping area by St John's and near Lime Street Station.

In September, the ECHO spoke to local residents about the service after taking a ride on the 82 bus to find out why it is such a vital service for many , with many passengers pointing out it is the elderly and people with mobility issues who will be most affected by the change.

 

The 82 Bus Campaign held a public meeting last month in Aigburth, and have been campaigning on social media using the hashtag #WeWantOurOld82BusBack.  The group have also started a petition to oppose the changes.

The campaign follows an earlier petition, which attracted over 5,000 signatures when the 82 bus was first re-routed in 2017 into the Baltic Triangle area due to "congestion in Hanover Street".

Meeting facilitator Ritchie Hunter updated attendees on the previous meeting held six weeks earlier, and provided a recap on the changes the group are opposing.

Ritchie said: "The plan is to put all 82 buses and the 82D down Park Lane", a route currently used by the relatively new 82C.

Cllr Crone spoke of his own personal journeys on board the bus.

He said: "As a regular traveller on the 82, this is the bus I have probably been on most in my life, I was thinking this morning of how much of a big part of my life that journey actually is."

One local resident talked about the impact of bus changes on people experiencing dementia, who have become used to a route that has been in place for decades.

 

Another resident from the Dingle talked about how cuts to other bus services had already left residents isolated in some areas of the Dingle and struggling to access services in town.

One local resident told the story of a 93 year-old man who uses the 82 bus to go for a regular drink in town.  He said: "He gets the last but one bus and the drivers wait for him - this will ruin his social life - what is he going to do?"

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Labour Councillor Elizabeth Hayden spoke of how congestion in Hanover Street is the driving force behind the decision.

Councillor Hayden said: "What we can do now is lobby the council as cars are not supposed to be on Hanover Street. This needs to be enforced and would cut the congestion.  It is meant to be a bus gate."

Councillor Crone also spoke of the need for enforcement of the bus gate at Hanover Street to ensure there is less congestion.

Meeting facilitator Ritchie said: "From our point of view the most basic thing is that we quite simply want our old 82 bus route back."

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Another local resident said: "This an issue about access to where people need to be.  The changes are just not suiting the needs of ordinary people, of the community."

"Nobody is listening to people and something needs to be done."

Councillor Crone said: "There is blame on all sides and we need to work together as quickly as possible to bring about a change."

The 82 bus route that campaigners want to save

Several attendees and both councillors present talked about the wider problem of deregulation of the bus services.

Councillor Hayden said: "The problem is that these public services are being run for profit.  The problem arises from the very top."

Merseytravel told the ECHO when approached for comment: "The opportunity to comment on proposals for city centre bus re-routing in response to Liverpool City Council’s city centre connectivity scheme was live for 6 weeks over the summer and captured feedback from bus users, businesses and local organisations.

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"Merseytravel has been reviewing the responses alongside the council and bus operators, and will make further details available on proposed changes to routes as soon as we’re able.”