£2m fund will save bus links

A £2m pot of cash will help save four rural bus routes in Fylde and Wyre.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 2:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 2:21 pm
Bus protesters outside County Hall, Preston, ahead of a budget meeting

The funding is being invested by Lancashire County Council to support 28 services in total across the county.

The county council had been due to withdraw funding from 113 routes from April.

Bus companies have decided to operate 40 of these routes on a commercial basis. The decision by the county council to fund a further 28 routes means 68 of the 113 routes will continue from Monday April 3 on a full or partial basis.

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The Fylde and Wyre routes being supported through the £2m fund include the partial operation of the 74 linking Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Poulton and Blackpool, the partial running of the 75 between Fleetwood, Poulton, Kirkham and Preston, and the maintenance of the 80 from Preston to Great Eccleston and Myerscough.

The fourth route due to receive some funding is the 89/89H connecting Knott End with Pilling, Glasson Dock and Lancaster.

Passengers will also be able to make connections with Blackpool Transport’s service 2C to Poulton and Blackpool.

Angela Patchett, of Fleetwood Bus Watch, said: “People in Fleetwood will be delighted some of their buses are being saved.

“Everyone has been very anxious, epecially elderly people who rely on the buses to get to the shops, hospital etc.”

A cross-party cabinet working group had been established to consider the impact of the decision by the full council to withdraw 113 existing bus contracts from April as part of £65m budget savings.

The group met to consider the response from bus operators to the new contracts being proposed, and made recommendations to go ahead with funding 28 services for 12 months from April.

Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This has been a very difficult process the all-party working group has had to get to grips with, to make the best of a bad situation.

“I’m very pleased to accept the working group’s recommendation to fund these bus services.”