Wyre councillor says bus cuts leave patients stranded

Fares will increase from May
Fares will increase from May
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A furious Over Wyre councillor has blasted cuts to bus services which he says will leave patients unable to get to clinics.

Preesall town councillor Derek Upton is asking Lancashire County Council to look again at funding for the 2C service.

He said it has been reduced to a five day a week service as the county council has reduced funding as part of its own massive cuts programme.

But he said it meant that people with hospital appointments at the weekend were now unable to get to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He said: “For Preesall, Knott End, Stalmine and Hambleton the 2C is the only bus service which connects to the nearest urban area.

“LCC has failed to consult either Blackpool Victoria Hospital or Lancaster Hospital on the effects the cuts will have on them. Also they have failed to consult the Ambulance service including patient transport. The cuts in service of the 2C it will greatly increase the cost to the Ambulance Service.

“Clinics at Victoria are no longer a matter of Monday to Friday. They now operate from Monday to Sunday. For example there is a neurology clinic on Sundays.”

He added that money was found for Fleet wood tram way and the Now Card even though Fleetwood already had a good transport system.

But a spokesman for Lancashire County Council said the authority had been forced to make cuts due to huge reductions in Government funding. He said: “Our continued support for 28 bus routes with the reduced budget of £2m, along with the decision by bus companies to continue to operate 40 routes without our support, means that most areas of the county will retain a public transport connection after April.

“The Cabinet Working Group for Buses made recommendations which focused on using the remaining £2m budget to prioritise support for journeys when people would most need them to access employment and education, and vital services such as health.

“Blackpool Transport has made the decision to continue operating Service 2C on a commercial basis during Monday to Saturday daytime, however we are no longer in a position to support the service during the evenings and on Sundays.

“The working group’s recommendations and subsequent decision to continue support for 28 routes will ensure further connections to Preesall are maintained, which includes funding to maintain Service 89/89H to Lancaster, during the day from Monday to Saturday.”