Bus reprieve as group looks to keep services

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There may be some reprieve for bus users in Lancaster as a working group looks to plug huge holes in public transport provision.

From April, many tax payer subsidised bus timetables will be completely withdrawn from service, as Lancashire County Council looks to balance its books with a £7m saving in transport costs.

But up to £2m has been made available for community or volunteer run services across the county, however the take-up has been virtually non-existent.

Now a working group, made up of county councillors, has been drafted in to work out where best to spend the money, and keep people connected in terms of work, appointments and leisure.

Lancaster County Coun Gina Dowding, who is a member of the group said: “We’re very fortunate in this district to have the Lancaster Bus User’s Group, who have been able pinpoint exactly where the issues are.

“As I understand it, the county council is going to use the £2m for reinstating key core services during the day times.

“It will relieve a lot of people and provide continuation for key journeys.

“It looks like the 89 service between Lancaster and Knott End will be reinstated on weekdays and Saturdays.

“We’re also hoping for a better service for the 81A and 81B that goes up the Lune Valley. That is one change that I’m really pressing for. The county council is currently trying to sort this whole thing out and get as many needs met as possible.”

Green Coun Dowding added that she hoped the Bare Circular in Morecambe could also be maintained.

Conservative Coun Susie Charles warned that the working group has not had sufficient time to consider several important matters that affect bus subsidies.

She said: “Most significantly, there has not been proper consideration of the frequency of buses on routes as well as the routes themselves.

“As a result, some routes have been removed entirely whilst it is still proposed to run buses on some routes at times when they are not needed.”

She added that the group trying to get what will be the last bus to Wray put back from 5.30pm to 6pm or 6.15pm.