Thursday, 7 September 2017

Not Much for Lancaster in County's Christmas Stocking!

Service 81 at Kirkby Lonsdale. Will buses soon
return to both sides of the Lune Valley?
Lancashire County Council's cabinet will shortly consider proposals on how to spend the additional £1M the new administration has allocated to funding bus services with the improvements to take effect just before Christmas.

Given that the previous council cut approximately £5M from the bus budget it was always obvious that not all the services withdrawn in April 2016 would be replaced and indeed the money has been thinly spread throughout the county.

Despite significant improvements to services in Ribble Valley, Pendle, Fylde and West Lancs there's not much cheer for Lancaster's bus passengers with only one service set for improvement.

When the consultation on the funding was announced the Bus Users' Group put forward suggestions that would have restored a service to Crag Bank in Carnforth and those parts of Bolton-le-Sands that no longer have a bus. We also asked for more buses for Warton and Silverdale as well as the restoration of evening and Sunday buses in Lancaster, all of which we felt met the priorities that the Council had set itself. The Cabinet Report, to be considered on 14th September, however includes none of the above improvements. Indeed, the only part of Lancaster District to benefit will be the Lune Valley, where it does at least appear that the BUG's requests are being considered. The Report includes an action "to work with (bus) operators to develop a sustainable daytime service for the villages of Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington as well as the Lune Valley as a whole".

As these villages were left without any usable buses by the April 2016 cuts and have since gained only a token service provided by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire buses en-route to and from another service this is, to say the least, overdue.  The full report makes reference to the county council working with "operators and stakeholders" to develop proposals and the BUG has already asked for an input into the work of designing the new service.

The proposed introduction date for any new service is 10th December, which means that timetables will have to be agreed and ready by mid-October at the latest. As ever, we will post details on this site as soon as we get them.

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