Vital bus route future in doubt

Fleetwood residents who fought for the survival of the F1 bus service
Fleetwood residents who fought for the survival of the F1 bus service
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PENSIONERS could lose a vital bus service if a new provider is not found.

Fears the number 74 service between Fleetwood and Blackpool could be axed were raised after Stagecoach announced it would not renew its contract – which ends in June.

Lancashire County Council say they are currently seeking a new provider to cover the route.

But locals believe they could still lose the service which some describe as a ‘lifeline’.

Community Champion, Angela Patchett, of Pharos Grove, Fleetwood, said: “We cannot lose this bus service, it just isn’t an option.

“There are so many elderly people who rely on it to get into Fleetwood, Cleveleys and Blackpool, without it they would be isolated, it is a lifeline.

“I do not feel very comforted by Lancashire County Council’s reassurance, they have not found a provider yet and until they do we will be concerned.

“A couple of years ago we lost our lovely little service, the F1, that used to run every 40 minutes, it is as if the powers that be feel we don’t need a transport system in Fleetwood.”

Rita Bird, 80, of Rossall Grange Lane, said her husband, Noel uses the bus every day.

She said: “We have a car but it is difficult to make long journeys and Noel likes to go into town.

“The bus stops more or less outside our house, if it stops we will have to walk down to Poulton Road, which in the wind is not possible.

“There are so many people who use the service, we all know each other, it is a friendly place.

“We will have to see what happens I suppose, but I hope we don’t lose it.”

Norma Watkin, 80, of Radcliffe Road, said: “A lot of elderly people use this bus, it is shocking it faces an uncertain future.

“Without it I don’t know what we would do, we don’t have a car so we would be snookered.

“People at Larkholme would be completely isolated, I hope we are kept up to date with the plans.

“And if it looks like it will be axed we will fight to save it, we will set up a petition for everyone to sign.”

A Lancashire County Council spokesman confirmed Stagecoach will not renew its contract in June.

He added: “The 74 bus runs hourly each day and is provided by Stagecoach on behalf of ourselves.

“They are looking to finish it in June and we will re tender to another provider.”