A COUNCILLOR has called for improved driver training after pensioners were made to to pay for a village bus that turned up two minutes early.

Cllr Allan Jones, St Helens Council ward member for Rainford, raised issues surrounding the number 38 Arriva service, which runs from St Helens to Rainford.

The Conservative councillor told Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s transport committee the service turned up outside the bus stop in Church Road early, which meant pensioners were unable to use their concessions.

He said: “There is one bus that goes through Rainford just after 9.30am so that pensioners can use their passes on it.

“A couple of weeks or so ago it turned up at 28 minutes past nine, a couple of minutes early, and the driver would not let pensioners on that bus without paying.

“Surely that could be incorporated in some sort of driver training?”

An Arriva spokesman has apologised and said it will address the issue with  the drivers and supervisor of the service.

The spokesman said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to those passengers that were unable to board the number 38 bus.

“This should not have happened, and we are speaking with our drivers along with our bus station supervisor focusing on this route in particular.”

Cllr Jones also told the committee the number 38 service has long-running reliability issues.

“Very often that bus is late,” he said.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t turn up at all. I’m told, because it is late it does not run.

“Now I have brought this up with Arriva a year ago and they said they would sort it out.

“They did, to a point and now it’s gone again.”

An Arriva spokesman said on-going roadworks in Rainford has “severely affected” the service.

“We can confirm we are aware of the issue with the number 38 service, which has been severely affected due to ongoing roadworks on Windle Island and Pastures Lane in Rainford,” the spokesman said.

“To look to improve punctuality, we added an additional three minutes into the running time, which was implemented on January 21, and a meeting has been arranged with Cllr Jones to discuss further.”

The transport committee agreed to investigate the issues with the service.