CAMPAIGNERS for a rural bus service have seen a possible reprieve for the route cancelled.
The WyldeFyre bus looks certain to be taken off the road after Lancashire County Council’s decision to axe concessionary fares on community transport.
They want users to pay for journeys – but WyldeFyre’s operator have now said that “will not work” and the service looks set to be scrapped.
They confirmed the service will go without county council support, which ceases at the end of June.
It comes as a devastating blow for rural residents like Hannah Miller,
Mrs Miller, 85, who lives on Mains Lane, Singleton, said: “That bus is my only means of going to the doctors unless I fork out £16 for a taxi, and I hardly think my pension will cover that too often. We’ve not got an alternative. Of course we’d be prepared to pay £2 or £3 each way.”
Lune Valley Transport carries 10,000 passengers a year across rural Wyre and Fylde on the WyldeFyre bus.
Ian Blears, the company’s manager, said: “If Lancashire County Council doesn’t give us the concessionary fares, we can’t run the service.
“Community transport will not work if you charge for it – we’ve done it in other areas. Concessionary fares cost about £30,000 a year and without that we wouldn’t even attempt to run it. “
A six-week review into dial-a-ride services across Lancashire has resulted in new proposals for commercial operators, which would see a journey of up to two miles cost £2, up to four miles £3, nine miles £4, nine to 18 miles £5 and over 18 miles £10.
This scheme – which will see the services operate between 9.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday – could be implemented on Traveline’s dial-a-ride service in urban Fylde and Wyre.
Tony Moreton, assistant director for sustainable transport at Lancashire County Council, said: “We’re working to come up with a business model which will make the services sustainable.
“This will allow operators to continue to provide a much valued service.”