Cuts to bus services would be '˜severing lifeline' for elderly and those in rural areas

'I thought that was someone else calling to complain about service cuts,' said the councillor as he answered the phone.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 17th January 2016, 7:12 am
The Number 5 bus en route between Chipping and Longridge
The Number 5 bus en route between Chipping and Longridge

County councillor Mike Devaney was talking about buses – or more to the point the looming loss of them.

Worried folk throughout Lancashire are waiting to hear if the bus that takes them to work, the shops, the hospital, will still be there for them.

In particular, the elderly and isolated living in rural locations, for whom the bus is a lifeline, are seriously worried.

For Lancashire County Council is preparing to give the go-ahead to its plans to save £65m over the next two years, as part of action to tackle a massive funding gap of at least £262m faced by April 2020.

The plans will result in the loss of an estimated 367 full-time equivalent jobs, in addition to the 1,100 staff who have already left the authority since January 2014.

At the same time the council will be continuing work on delivering the remaining savings identified last year, adding up to a further saving of almost £148m over the period 2015/16 to 2017/18.

The decisions follow the announcement in August that the council needs to save an additional £262m by April 2020, to tackle a funding gap caused by reduced government funding and rising demand for services. Last week it announced further cuts in Government funding.

The county’s public transport chiefs have been urged to reconsider the hugely controversial proposals

County Coun Devaney, speaking at the latest meeting of Brindle Parish Council, said the Tory group’s request had been made because of the scale of objections to cuts.

Coun Devaney, who represents Chorley rural north, said: “With my Conservative colleagues, we’ve said they should go back to their officers and do an assessment route by route rather than have a blanket chop.

“The 112 and 114 through Cuerden and Lancaster Lane and that is going to stop completley in April. A lot of people rely on that bus route, not just to get to Chorley but kids getting to school.

“Even worse is chopping routes for disabled people and people with special needs. My mailbag is full of complaints.”

He added: “There’s certainly a need to save some money

“In my view there’s certainly a need for bus companies to look at operating costs, but the answer isn’t cancelling bus services, especially in rural areas.”

Preston’s two park and ride services from Preston Portway and Walton le Dale, provided by Preston Bus, could also be vulnerable, although the council says it still hopes a lifeline can be found.

County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have given the required six months’ notice to end the current contract for Preston’s Park and Ride services from May 2016, and are currently exploring options for how we may be able to continue to provide a Park and Ride service at no direct cost to the county council.”

Meanwhile other contractors operating subsidised services have been given just 12 weeks’ notice that council funding will end.

Residents in the Ribble Valley villages of Ribchester and Chipping face being marooned without bus services.

A £535,000 subsidy keeping four services on the road, linking the villages to Longridge, Whalley, Clitheroe, Mellor, Accrington and Blackburn is to go. Ribchester Parish Council clerk Alan Ormand said talks were continuing to see if there was any chance of providing a partial service, but with a budget of just £8,000 Ribchester Parish Council had no funds to help support a service.

The complete list of services subsidised by Lancashire County Council is:

5 Carnforth - Morecambe - Heysham - Overton

42 Lancaster - Garstang - Poulton - Blackpool

51 5B 5C 55C Carnforth - Warton - Silverdale; Brookhouse - Morecambe; Carnforth - Morecambe; Carnforth - Lancaster

55 Lancaster - Carnforth

81A, 81B Lancaster - Hornby - Kirkby Lonsdale

1 Silverdale Shuttle

7 10 Lancaster - Vale / Lancaster - Marsh

33 Morecambe - Bare Circular

74 Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Poulton - Blackpool

12, 13 Poulton - Norcross - Bispham

84A Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Poulton - Blackpool

87 Cleveleys - Thornton - Carleton - Poulton

86, 89, 89H Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Knott End Knott End - Pilling - Glasson Dock - Lancaster

5B Clitheroe - Longridge - Chipping - Garstang

22 Clitheroe - Whalley - Blackburn

26, 27 Burnley - Padiham - (Sabden) - Clitheroe

10 Clitheroe - Hodder Valley Circular

2, 4, 7, 7A, 7B Clitheroe Town Services

Clitheroe - Waddington - Chatburn - Nelson

5, 14, 14A, 15, 25

Chipping - Longridge - Whalley - Clitheroe

Clitheroe - Whalley - Accrington - Royal Blackburn Hospital

Chipping - Longridge - Mellor - Blackburn

Clitheroe - Whalley - Brockhall - Mellor - Blackburn

180, X80, 280 Skipton - (Barnoldswick) - Gisburn - Clitheroe

Clitheroe - Whalley - Preston

75 Fleetwood - Poulton - Kirkham - Preston

76 Blackpool - Victoria Hospital - Poulton - Kirkham - St Annes

78 St Annes - Lytham - Kirkham - Wesham

79 Freckleton Lamaleach Caravan Park - Kirkham

68 Preston - Lytham - St Annes - Blackpool

1 Preston Park & Ride (Portway & Walton-le-Dale)

14, 114 Preston - Holme Slack- Preston - Bamber Bridge

80 Preston - Great Eccleston - Myerscough

12/12A, 13/13A, 112, 114

Preston - New Longton - Longton

Preston - Penwortham

Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Croston

Preston - Sainsburys - Whittle Le Woods - Chorley

113 Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Wigan

217 Preston - Mellor

110 Leyland - Croston - Southport

115 Preston - Leyland - Chorley

118 Leyland - Clayton Brook - Blackburn

150 Preston - Bamber Bridge

12A Preston - New Longton - Tarleton - Ormskirk

24A, 109A Chorley - Brinscall - Abbey Village - Blackburn

Chorley - Astley Village

109 Chorley - Leyland - Preston

337, 347 Chorley - Eccleston - Mawdesley - Ormskirk

Chorley - Eccleston - Mawdesley - Southport

231, 8 Clitheroe - Accrington- Accrington - Spring Hill

81A, 81B (Lancaster) - Hornby - Arkholme/Melling - Kirkby Lonsdale

40 Morecambe - Lancaster - Garstang - Preston

2C Knott End - Stalmine - Hambleton - Poulton - (Blackpool)

61 Preston - Blackpool (Peel Corner Diversion)

113 Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Wigan

152 Preston - Blackburn - Burnley

4, 7B, 5A (Preston) - Fulwood - Longridge

Clitheroe local evening service (Thu/Fri/Sat evening)

Clitheroe - Longridge - Chipping (Thu/Fri/Sat evening)

151 Preston - Bamber Bridge via Hoghton

2A (Preston) - Tarleton - Ormskirk

6, 6A Network Chorley

362 Chorley - Wigan