UNHAPPY market traders are in talks with transport company Stagecoach after they changed some routes which they no longer stop at Chester Bus Station.
The routes affected are the number 5 to Huntington, 6 to Boughton, 7 to Vicars Cross and 9 to Pipers Ash, which all now stop at Foregate Street instead of the bus station.
Traders say the decision has affected trade with elderly people less willing to walk the distance between Foregate Street and the market to pick up their shopping.
John Sheldon, head of Chester Market Traders Association, said attempts are being made to get the buses back to the bus station. He said: “We’re not happy with it but we have a meeting with someone from the council and Stagecoach within the fortnight.
“We hope to either reverse the decision or get alternate buses to go to Foregate Street or the bus station and let the public decide where they want to go. Let them vote with their feet.
“We’re getting a lot of customers moaning about being dropped off on the other side of the city. It’s affecting trade.
“It’s Stagecoach’s decision so we’re asking them to alternate buses from the park and ride to help us out.”
When asked, the council categorically denied the change in Stagecoach routes is because of proposed plans to move the market to another part of the city.
It said that while there will be fewer buses going to the bus station, there will still be more than 750 buses using it daily.
Spokesman Laura Johnson said: “From the council’s point of view, Stagecoach’s investment and commitment in Chester is great for the city.
“I can confirm that under no circumstances does this commercial decision, taken by Stagecoach to improve the services they provide, have any links to any plans the council may have in the future in regards to the market.
“Stagecoach acquired the local bus operations from Firstbus earlier this year. The company has worked to form a positive relationship with the council and this has already resulted in improved reliability and quality of services provided in the area along with lower ticket prices and the introduction of a significant number of new and newer buses.
“In line with this, Stagecoach have registered changes to their local commercial Chester bus network from August 25. The changes will bring increased frequencies to a number of services in the city and offer improved links to the railway station.”
Stagecoach was unavailable for comment.