Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Lune Valley Improvements Delayed

No improvement yet for services to Kirkby Lonsdale
Lancashire County Council has published new timetables for its contracted bus services that will apply from 11 December, following the injection of an extra £1M per annum into the bus service support budget. There are a large number of improvements to services throughout the county, particularly in the Ribble Valley, Fylde and West Lancashire Districts. Lancaster, however, doesn't fare so well. 

The only improvement of note is the introduction, following a request from the Bus Users Group, of early evening journeys on service 51 between Carnforth and Silverdale (with connections to/from Lancaster). On Mondays to Fridays an extra journey will depart Carnforth at 1909 running through to Holgates Caravan Park at Silverdale for 1944. There will be a return journey (operated outside the contract by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire) at 1945 arriving back in Carnforth at 2028.

On Saturdays there will be an extra bus from Carnforth to Silverdale at 1901 arriving at 1940, whilst in the return direction the present 1805 (retimed to 1817) and 1940 from Holgates Caravan Park to Silverdale Railway Station will run through to Carnforth.

Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire will utilise the bus arriving at Carnforth at 2028 each evening to operate new service 490, which follows the route of Stagecoach service 49, with a bus leaving Carnforth at 2028 via The Kellets and Halton to arrive Lancaster at 2110.  This journey will be operated free of charge to begin with until the service registration takes effect.

There is, however, no sign of the promised improvement to services in the Lune Valley between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale and in particular for the villages of Arkholme, Gressingham and Whittington left almost busless by the April 2016 cuts.

The county council says only that "talks are continuing with commercial bus operators to provide a sustainable option to develop a daytime service link" to the affected villages. and whilst the council is known to have approached at least two local operators for proposals the mprovements to the service are not now expected until at least February 2018.  

Lancashire County Council's budget for bus service support is now £3M per annum compared with over £7M in 2015/16.

The county's leaflet explaining the changes from 11 December can be seen via this link  and the new timetables are on the Local Bus Maps and Timetables page of this website.

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