Bus timetable changes ahead in £400k cuts

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Bus chiefs have been forced to make changes to some services after suffering a £400,000 cut in subsidies.

But Blackpool Transport says the new timetable, which comes into operation on April 3, will continue to deliver a full network of routes.

The reductions include £180,000 of subsidies withdrawn by Lancashire County Council which helped fund services 2C to Knott End, and the 12 and 13 between Poulton and Norcross.

The Department for Work and Pension’s three year contract for an extension of the number 14 to Peel Park, introduced to help civil servants transferred from Warbreck House in North Shore, also finishes at the end of March.

However Blackpool Transport will continue to operate four buses during peak times in the morning and afternoon.

Other changes include new links to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on services 9, 10 and 17 for customers travelling from Blackpool, Cleveleys and St Annes. There are also network changes including increased frequencies to cater for the summer season.

James Carney, finance and commercial director at Blackpool Transport, said: “We have had to respond to the withdrawal of funding for service 2C and 12 and 13 by LCC and the ending of a contract with DWP to extend our service 14 into Peel Park.

“The network is being changed with the aim that the fewest number of customers lose buses serving their street.

“In the most part we have been successful but buses are being withdrawn from Preston New Road, this is a poorly patronized section of the network.”

John Porter, of the Blackpool Transport Users Panel, said: “Lancashire County Council has cut its subsidy which means that Blackpool Transport has been forced to make changes to timetables.

“Blackpool Transport makes changes anyway for the spring and summer seasons though not to reduce services.

“As a member of Blackpool’s Passenger Users Panel I have witnessed a gradual decline in financial support from the statutory sector for public transport services which is very unfortunate.

“Delivering a regular service to some areas on the Fylde Coast has always been challenging resulting in a financial loss to Blackpool Transport.

“I’m sure there will be passengers who will have to make adjustments to their travel plans as a result of the changes, but I’m confident Blackpool Transport has kept these to a minimum.

“I am aware of other parts of the UK where some services have either been cut completely or reduced significantly. This may offer little encouragement to people in Blackpool but is a fact.”

Blackpool Council has maintained its subsidies on services 3, 4 and 10.

New timetables are expected to be available from Monday February 29.