Fresh calls were today made for local residents to back The Gazette’s campaign to protect vital bus services across the Fylde coast.
Readers have been sending in their signatures to add to a petition calling on County Hall to rethink plans to axe rural buses across Lancashire.
And residents’ groups have got behind the Save Our Buses campaign, saying plans to stop subsidising unprofitable routes – in a move that would save almost £9m a year – would have a “devastating” impact.
Tony Ward, of the Wyre Senior Forum, said: “We welcome The Gazette’s campaign to keep bus services running in Wyre.
“As people age they may no longer feel able to drive, for health or economic reasons.
“Many older people come to rely on public transport, especially buses.
“Public transport not only connects people to places but also links people to each other and is a key factor in an inclusive society.
“A lack of suitable transport can have a devastating effect on wellbeing.”
Lancashire County Council has come under fire for its proposal to cut bus subsidies, which was put forward as part of a raft of measures to plug a £177m hole in its budget over the next four years.
It would impact on 13 Fylde coast routes and leave a dozen villages with no bus service.
The move – which County Hall said is still only an option under consideration at this stage – was slammed as “unacceptable” by the council’s own budget scrutiny working group.
The Wyre Senior Forum also raised concerns the cuts would undermine the council’s work to support the elderly. Mr Ward added: “The council is spending millions to improve our wellbeing and maintain our independence.”
The council has said the “unpalatable” cuts being made are the result of huge budget reductions imposed by central government.
The cabinet will discuss plans that would save around £150m – including the bus cuts – at a meeting on January 8.
You can support the campaign by signing the petition online here.