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Anger over bus fare rises

Residents have hit out at bus fare rises on subsidised routes in Lancashire. Angela Patchett (below) is among those to criticise the move.

Residents have hit out at bus fare rises on subsidised routes in Lancashire. Angela Patchett (below) is among those to criticise the move.

A bus fare hike in Lancashire has been met with anger from Fylde coast residents who say the decision will hurt trade at the peak of the tourist season.

From Sunday, fares on around 100 subsidised bus routes across the county will rise by up to 10p for a single trip.

Lancashire County Council said the average increase of 1.7 per cent was in line with inflation.

But Angela Patchett, of Fleetwood Bus Watch, questioned the timing of the fare rise.

She said: “We rely on the holidaymakers for our economy here – we’ve got very little else. It is before the Lights go on and the main holiday period. I think they should have waited until April.

“Bus fares are very expensive. In Manchester and places, visitors can travel much cheaper.

“I think it’s a bad move. I’m very disappointed they would put it up at this time of year. It’s our main money-making period and it will affect businesses.”

The fare rise will affect the loss-making services that are subsidised by County Hall.

In most cases, single tickets costing under £4 will cost 5p more, while the price of journeys over £4 will rise by 10p. Weekly tickets will not be affected.

A council spokesman said: “Lancashire County Council provides around 100 local bus service contracts throughout the county.

“These are a mixture of subsidised daytime rural and urban services, together with evening and weekend services which complement the overall commercial bus network.

“A number of fares which operate alongside commercial routes will be revised to match, as fares on subsidised services must not be lower than those offered commercially.”

Blackpool Transport Users Group (BTUG) chairman Stephen Brookes said: “This is going to affect people in the more rural areas of Lancashire. The council is putting up fares for reduced services and it’s exactly what people can’t afford.

“The council seems to be really getting its maths wrong and blaming customers for using services and I don’t like the way they are doing it.”

He said BTUG had helped improve Blackpool Transport for its passengers and urged residents outside the resort to follow suit.

He added: “They need to form a users group and hold the council to task because it’s just not right.”

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