Monday, 17 April 2017

Two More Campaign Successes

Early and late buses on service 580 are
being extended to and from Lancaster
Lancaster District Bus Users' Group has been successful in getting two bus operators to revise their services, restoring some of the cuts made following Lancashire County Council's reductions in bus service funding made in April 2016.

From 2nd May Stagecoach will revise the route of service 49 (Lancaster to Warton) via the Highfield Estate area of Carnforth. This will restore an hourly service between the area and Lancaster city centre as well as providing additional buses into Carnforth. 

The change follows a campaign led by members of the Bus Users' Group and Carnforth Town Council.

From the same date Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire will introduce three journeys between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale on services 81 (via Tunstall) and 81A (via Whittington). These journeys are provided by buses that previously ran out-of-service to take up journeys on service 581 / 580 between Kirkby Lonsdale, Settle and Skipton. They will therefore provide guaranteed connections with the Skipton service.  This change follows a suggestion to the company made by local BUG members in the Lune Valley. 

A morning journey from Lancaster at 0745 runs via Whittington and provides a School Holiday and Saturday equivalent to the Stagecoach journey running on schooldays at the same time.  It means that residents of Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington can get to Kirkby Lonsdale for 0835 six days a week throughout the year.

One journey returns from Kirkby Lonsdale via the same route at 1750 and provides a return service throughout the year for villagers working in Kirkby Lonsdale.   A second journey, at 1820 runs via the other side of the valley through Tunstall and Melling.  Both buses provide later journeys through to Lancaster than Stagecoach's last departure at 1715.

The new services receive no external funding and are being introduced at the commercial risk of the operators.  Despite this, at the time of writing just two weeks before the start of service, the Bus Users' Group has been unable to find any details of the new timetables on-line, either on the sites of the operators concerned, the county councils or Traveline. Both sets of changes were registered with the Traffic Commissioner by 15th March and the Dales & Bowland CIC, organisers of the Dales Bus network of summer Sunday buses have provided us with a timetable for services 81/81 which is available via this link.

Although these improvements are fairly modest (except for those people who will find them useful) they show what can be done by negotiating and working with bus companies and making them aware of possibilities to improve their services to the benefit of the travelling public.

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