Call to save rural bus routes

The Number 5 bus en route between Chipping and Longridge

The Number 5 bus en route between Chipping and Longridge

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Lancashire’s transport chief is calling on the government to establish a special fund to protect rural buses.

County Coun John Fillis said the County Council spend £7million a year supporting around 100 rural routes which don’t make enough from passenger fares to cover their costs, but as austerity cuts deepen, this is no longer sustainable.

He has now written to the leaders of Lancashire’s district councils, MPs and Members of the European Parliament to ask for their support in requesting that the government provide specific funding to make sure rural areas are not left without public transport.

He wrote: “People using the bus services are often elderly, young or families living on low incomes just trying to get on with their day to day lives. Going to work or school, meeting family or friends, shopping, visiting their GP or attending hospital appointments. All these normal activities are and will be affected by the lack of transport, changing the very nature of the areas as our residents are put at risk of becoming more isolated and seeing their opportunities restricted.”

The Evening Post has previously revealed that a bus trip around the Ribble Valley on the Pendle Witch Hopper costs taxpayers £23.59 in council subsidies for every passenger on board.