Thursday, 18 February 2016

County Council Working Group to Consider BUG Proposals

Service 89:  Can it be saved?
Lancashire County Council has set up a Cabinet Working Group on Buses to consider how best to spend £1M of capital funding and £2M per annum revenue funding that is being made available for public transport following the decision to withdraw all bus services that currently run under contract to the council.

Initial thinking was that this money would be best spent on providing minibuses to parish councils and/or community groups so that they could run their own services, using volunteer drivers and other staff. The Bus Users' Group felt that this was not the most cost-effective means of spending the money and in a letter to the council's cabinet member for transport said that it should instead be spent on keeping bus services running to those areas that would be hardest hit.

The Cabinet Working Party meets tomorrow (Friday, 19th Febraury) and we have received an indication that it is now thinking along the same lines as the BUG, with the bulk of available funding likely to spent on conventional bus services.

County Councillor Gina Dowding, who is a BUG member and also sits on the Cabinet Working Group says she is "hopeful" that most daytime bus services can be retained.  The BUG has asked that daytime services be continued on the following routes, which were threatened with total withdrawal:

33  Morecambe - Bare Circular
51  Silverdale - Carnforth - Lancaster
81A  Lancaster - Gressingham - Kirkby Lonsdale
89  Lancaster - Knott End.

Detailed timetables for these services have been submitted to the Working Group and we hope that we will be successful in getting them, or something similar, accepted.

There is no indication that any evening or Sunday services will be put back.  We have asked that evening and Sunday services be reinstated on service 81B between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale (evenings) or Hornby (Sundays).  It appears less likely that this proposal will be accepted, but we have asked that at least some early evening (up to around 1900hrs) journeys can be provided as far as Hornby.

We will announce the outcome of the Working Group's deliberations as soon as we are made aware of them ourselves.