New rural bus service aims to connect villages

Coastal Coaches new 77 route coach Master Luke
Coastal Coaches new 77 route coach Master Luke
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Fylde villages are to get a new bus service from next Monday following the huge changes due to cut-backs.

Lancashire County Council has been forced to reduce subsidies for many rural services due to a massive cut in its Government funding.

As a result many bus services have had to be ended or reduced in frequency.

One such service was the 76, between Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Fylde villages.

But Fylde bus firm Coastal Coaches has announced it will launch a new bus service which will go some way to replacing the 76.

From April 4, service 77 will run from St Annes Square to the Blackpool Victoria hospital.

Bill and Helen Holder, the owners of Coastal Coaches, said they will launch the new service 77 in order to continue to serve their customers with a route to the hospital.

He said: “The distinctive blue and white of the modern Coastal Coaches fleet will soon become a familiar sight outside the 77’s additional calling points, which include Asda, Tesco and the Whitegate Drive NHS centre.”

Coastal Coaches is also announcing an extension to the service 78 route. 
From Monday the 78 will call at Greenhalgh, Elswick, Great Eccleston and Poulton-le-Fylde.

Mr Holder said: “The extension ensures that customers in these locations will not be left stranded without the 76 service.

“It will also provide the first direct bus link to Poulton Le Fylde from Lytham, St Annes, Warton and Freckleton.”

However the 78 will no longer run in the evening, on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Mr Holder said as this service has lost all its subsidy then it could only be funded by its passengers and there were not enough at these times to run a service.

The 77 will run between St Annes, Spring Gardens, Highfield Public House, ASDA, Mereside TESCO, ALDI Oxford Square, Whitegate Drive, NHS Centre, Devonshire Square and Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The 78 will run between St Annes, Ansdell, Lytham, Warton, Freckleton, Kirkham, Wesham, Elswick, Great Eccleston and Poulton.

One 78 in the mornings and one at the end of the day will run to Blackpool Sixth Form College to offer a service to the estimated 35 rural students who go there.

Every other 78 will terminate at Wesham, with the others carrying on to Poulton.