Better bus links coming thanks to £750k boost

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Buses will be getting a big boost in July thanks to an extra £750,000 being invested by Lancashire County Council to make sure more people have a service they can rely on for regular journeys.

A number of improvements will be made to existing links, particularly in rural areas, and with vital services such as hospitals, as well as increases in frequency of some services where there is strong demand.

The council received the extra funding following a successful bid to the Department for Transport's 'A better deal for bus users' programme.

The investment will meet a number of outstanding requests for bus services received from residents, local councillors and MPs, as well as building on improvements introduced in December 2017 when the county council increased its annual budget for buses.

While the current advice is to only use buses where absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the county council recognises that they still play a vital part in keeping people connected, providing access to local services, employment, health and education.

The county council's supported bus service network has resumed normal operation, after initially operating to a Saturday timetable at the beginning of lockdown.

County Councillor Andrew Snowden, lead member for buses, said: "We've made improving public transport one of our top priorities as it's vital to people's daily lives and our local economy, with many people relying on buses to get to work, access education and other services, do their shopping and visit friends.

"This new funding will help to build on the investment we've already made in restoring links for communities which might otherwise have no or very little public transport, and supports the commercial network to ensure transport connections across the county are as effective as possible.

"Some of the improvements being introduced this summer will also increase the frequency of a number of services where there is most demand, developing more attractive and sustainable services for the future.

"While there are still restrictions on using public transport at the moment, these improvements meet a number of requests from communities for better connections and will help to support our economy as Lancashire begins to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic."

The improvements due to be introduced from Sunday 19 July are as follows:

In Lancaster:

To restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service on Lancaster City local routes, linking The Vale, The Marsh, The Ridge and Lancaster East estates with the city centre.

To restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale through the Lune Valley.

In Wyre and Fylde:

To introduce a Monday to Saturday daytime service link between Fleetwood, Poulton and Staining. This would restore a direct link between Fleetwood and Poulton as well as incorporating local resident's requests for a link between Staining and Poulton. The allocation would be used to match developer funding secured through the planning process which is available to kick-start the whole new service.

In Chorley and South Ribble:

To strengthen and extend the existing Monday to Saturday daytime Service 119 between Chorley and Astley Village, extending the service through to Leyland, and restore links for the unserved parts of Buckshaw Village as well as reconnecting a direct bus service to Chorley Hospital from throughout the whole extended route.

In Preston, South Ribble and West Lancashire:

To restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service between Preston and Ormskirk via Tarleton.

To support the weekend daytime Service 300 between Liverpool, Haskayne, Halsall and Southport. This routes through the western rural communities of West Lancashire linking with Southport and Liverpool.

In Preston, Ribble Valley and Pendle:

To strengthen the existing Monday to Saturday daytime Service 280 link between Clitheroe, Gisburn, Barnoldswick, Earby and Skipton, increasing the frequency from two hourly to hourly on this section and to restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service throughout the whole route between Preston, Clitheroe and Skipton.

In Ribble Valley and Hyndburn:

To restore a Monday to Saturday daytime service link between Clitheroe, Whalley, Great Harwood, Rishton, Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Royal Blackburn Hospital.

In Burnley, Hyndburn and Rossendale:

To restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service between Rawtenstall, Water and Burnley and Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Blackburn.

Full details of these service improvements and how they tie in with existing tendered bus services will be available once they have been finalised in the next couple of weeks.

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