Villagers ‘cut off’ over holiday

Rennie Fry is concerned over proposed cuts to the bus service in Over Wyre.  She is pictured with fellow resident and service user Beryl Winton (left)
Rennie Fry is concerned over proposed cuts to the bus service in Over Wyre. She is pictured with fellow resident and service user Beryl Winton (left)
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Fears have been raised that vulnerable residents will be stranded for 48 hours as a result of bus service changes.

Knott End, Preesall, Stalmine and Hambleton currently have no Sunday service following the withdrawal of Lancashire County Council funding last month.

And with Sunday timetables in operation on bank holiday Monday, some villagers are concerned they will be stranded.

Among those concerned is 78-year-old Rennie Fry of Moss House Lane in Stalmine.

She has been speaking to her fellow passengers and is concerned by some of the stories she is hearing.

“It’s bad enough not having a bus service in the evening,” she said.

“But for two whole days over the weekend.
“The changes have hit people badly over here.

“You used to be able to go to Cleveleys in half an hour, now it’s a hour into Blackpool with no bus at all on a Sunday.

“Not everyone has a car, not everyone wants to drive.

“It’s a lovely rural area to live in but we feel cut off.”

One story in particular from a fellow passenger was upsetting for Rennie.

“I was speaking to one old lady who has a husband in hospital.

“She uses to bus to visit him every day,

“She told me she has look into taxis for the bank holiday and been told it will be £56 a day.

“That’s £112, just to go and visit her husband.

“I’ve been through the same thing and it’s bad enough to have to make the journey without worrying about the cost. How much would it cost to run a service on a Sunday, surely there is a need for one?”

Following the decision by County Hall to axe £5m of bus subsidies Stagecoach ended its 86 service from Knott End to Cleveleys.

Blackpool Transport continues to operate the 2C route but buses do not run late into evenings or on Sundays.

The concerns of residents have been echoed by Over Wyre councillors, many of whom battled to protect the one remaining route serving all four villages.

“It’s not just people going to the hospital,” said Coun Lynn Bowen, who represents Hambleton and Stalmine.

“There are people who need to get to work.
It is the only mode of transport for some.

“It is one of the really big issues for us.”

Coun Vivien Taylor, who represents Preesall on Wyre Council and Wyreside at County Hall said: “We have got a lot of vulnerable people in the area who don’t have access to their own vehicle.

“A bus servcies is an essential link.

“There are people who work shifts, people who have appointments for medical services who rely on the bus. There are young people who want to enjoy their independence.

“I would hope that the company currently running the services would look at the levels of need in the community and adjust their services.”

Blackpool Transport was unavailable for comment.