A PETITION urging for the return of an hourly bus service which travelled to Whiston Hospital has been signed by hundreds of Eccleston residents.

Ward councillor Michael Haw handed in the petition, which contains 815 signatures, to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority transport committee.

The Eccleston councillor said that there is strong objection to the decision by Merseytravel to cease the hourly 137 and 138 Monday to Saturday daytime service and the 194/195 Monday to Sunday evening journey.

He said the move has led to hospital staff and residents without alternative transport unable to affordably travel to the hospital.

In a letter to the combined authority, Cllr Haw states: “As local councillors, we strongly object to the decision taken by Merseytravel to withdraw public funding which was used to support the 137/138 and 194/195, as that bus service was relied upon by many Eccleston residents, including nurses that work at Whiston Hospital, senior citizens visiting the hospital for appointments, relatives visiting friends and family at the hospital and those shopping in nearby Prescot, with many now relying on expensive taxis as they don’t have a car.

“This is compounded by the fact that across St Helens a number of areas have had new bus links introduced or seen existing services improved (the Chain Lane area now has a direct link to St Helens Hospital) whilst in Eccleston, our vital bus link to Whiston Hospital and Prescot was withdrawn, which is simply not acceptable.”

Cllr Haw added: “What is clear from speaking to local residents is that this hourly circular bus service should be reinstated to serve local community needs, especially those senior citizens and residents with mobility issues who do not have access to transport.”

A Merseytravel spokesman said: “A public petition in relation to bus services in St Helens was received at the recent Transport Committee of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

“A full written response will be provided to the submitter within the required timeframe.”