The Gazette’s campaign to help save bus routes across the Fylde Coast is going from strength to strength.
With an influx of signed petitions coming from across the coast combined with Gazette journalists combing the coastal towns for signatures, hundreds of readers and bus users have come out in support of the campaign.
The petition has now moved online and you can show your support at www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk or by using the QR code (pictured below right. Simply scan with your smart phone).
Lancashire County Council is considering cutting local bus services by axing 140 routes across the county as part of a cost reducing initiative designed to save the council close to £315m by April 2018.
Bus contracts that are currently subsidised by the County Council could be scrapped in the Fylde and Wyre with the villages of Singleton, Greenhalgh, Weeton and Moss Side in danger of losing services.
This action has caused uproar among residents and councillors alike, leading to the boom in support for the campaign.
Talking to bus users in Lytham and St Annes, there was plenty of opposition.
Janet Hughes of Ripley Drive in St Annes regularly uses the local bus services and said: “We’re very lucky to have as good a service as we have – we appreciate this kind of service.
“My travelcard is worth hundreds of pounds to me in bus services every year and these are essential journeys.”
Before boarding one of the buses under threat, the number 76 Fylde Villager service, Mike Shulwood said: “I think it’s disgraceful, a lot of people will be very isolated in our smaller villages which is why we need these services to keep running.”
Deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, David Borrow explained why the cuts were being considered.
He said: “No council would choose to be put in the position of having to consider these options, many of which would mean making real and unpalatable cuts to services which people value, but we have to balance the budget.
A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “We are having to find a further £176m in savings as the result of unprecedented funding cuts by central government, and at a time when costs and demand for services continue to rise.
“The possibility of withdrawing bus subsidies is only one of a range of options to help make those savings that were presented to the county council’s cabinet in November.”
You can support the campaign by singing the online petition here.