Arriva is set to withdraw their link from Manchester to Liverpool John Lennon Airport on the 1st of May. Service 700, which runs from Piccadilly Station to the Merseyside airport via Eccles, Burtonwood Services and Widnes has run since Autumn 2005, and has had its route and stopping points changed a number of times in its short life.It's never seemed a particularly busy route, with very few passengers seen on board on most journeys we've seen.
There's good news though, with a new express service being launched to take its place. Service X2, introduced the very day the 700 waves goodbye, is to be operated by the forbodingly-named Flight Delay Services Ltd, based at Manchester Airport. The new service will run from Piccadilly Station all the way to Liverpool Lime Street Station via Manchester Airport, Warrington, Widnes and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. It will run hourly every day except Christmas Day.
In addition to maintaining a bus link to Liverpool's airport, the X2 is the first express bus service between Manchester city centre and Manchester Airport in many years. At present the only two routes providing this link are Stagecoach's 43 and 105. Since the introduction of regular rail services to the Airport an express bus has not been required, so it will be interesting to see how many people take up the option of a bus journey.
The X2 also introduces a fast bus link between Manchester and Warrington which may appeal to some people. First's 100 service is a regular stopping service via the Trafford Centre so an express may find some custom as an alternative although the train service to Warrington is still more frequent and faster than any bus could be.
[Image credit: SwansonFamily on Flickr]