The threat of savage funding cuts to “vital” bus services on the Fylde coast has prompted a plea from concerned users to consider all other options.
County Hall chiefs are being urged to find a way to cut costs without axing key routes, in a move that would leave some rural parts of the Fylde coast stranded.
Gazette readers have responded in their hundreds to our Save Our Buses campaign, which calls on Lancashire County Council to drop plans to pull funding for 140 unprofitable routes in the county.
Alice Searle, 94, of Great Eccleston, wrote in support of the campaign, saying she relied heavily on one of the routes under threat.
She wrote: “The number 76 bus is vital for me. I still do my own chores and shopping.
“I can’t see why the 76 has to go down into Blackpool, as Stagecoach goes there through Great Eccleston.
“I think the 76 would be better leaving St Annes, en route to Poulton, and going through Cleveleys as we can’t get to Cleveleys.”
One concerned Carleton resident, who uses some of the threatened bus services along with her husband, who has Parkinsons disease, said: “I don’t know what we would do without the 87 or 2C buses.
“We are sure all the other services are equally needed so please consider every aspect before cutting the services.”
Some bus users have suggested some routes could be altered to ensure no villages are left without a service but still allow County Hall to reduce the amount it spends subsidising them.
However, Lancashire County Council said suggestions to charge a nominal flat fee to disabled or elderly residents who currently travel free of charge – as has been proposed by a number of concessionary travel card-holders – would not be possible.
The council is bound to offer free travel to those residents under national rules.
The proposal to cut funding for all subsidised routes, which would save almost £9m, is part of a raft of measures being considered today by the council’s cabinet that would cut £156m from the budget.
It would leave another £20m still to find, on top of £140m in savings that have already be made.