It’s fun for families, satisfying for anoraks, and it’s inexpensive. The Wirral Bus and Tram Show comes round every year, at the start of October, bringing thousands of punters into Birkenhead for a nostalgic day out. This year, the weather had to have its ninepence worth – showers every so often until the afternoon – but an area of Merseyside which is probably grim and deserted through the winter was still busy.
The local transport museum benefited from being gifted, more or less, two trams built in Hong Kong, to the same spec as the former enclave’s “proper” fleet. These were joined on Sunday by cars from Lisbon and Wallasey. Heritage buses offered free rides. I encountered visitors from the south east sampling the trams, happily paying the one pound return fare.
That museum is a service provided through Government support. In the recent past, as monetary push has come to shove, such facilities across the Wirral have been under threat. Cutting such services would no doubt save from one budget, but then, the punters would not come if there were no Show. Moreover, the tramway runs throughout the summer months, and cuts there would mean even less punters coming.
Budget cutting is never as simple as some would believe.