Monday, 23 October 2017

December Service Changes - First Details Revealed

One of the supported services that will continue.

Last September Lancashire County Council began the process of spending the additional £1M funding allocated to local bus services by the new administration. As part of the process all existing contracts were cancelled and fresh tenders sought.  The new services are due to start on 10 December and the Bus Users' Group can now reveal how services in the Lancaster area will be affected.
The following services receive support from the County Council:

Service 1  Lancaster Park & Ride
This service will continue unchanged.

Service 18  East Lancaster Circular
This service will continue unchanged.

Service 33 Morecambe - Bare (Circular)
The route and timetable are unchanged but operation will pass from Travellers Choice to Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire.

Service 51 Carnforth - Silverdale
This service also passes from Travellers Choice to Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire. Following a request from the Bus Users' Group the early evening service is improved. There will be an additional journey from Carnforth to Silverdale at 19.09 on Mondays to Fridays and 19.01 on Saturdays. In the opposite direction on Mondays to Fridays  the 18.25 from Silverdale village to Silverdale Station will continue to Carnforth arriving at 19.06. On Saturdays the 16.35 and 18.05 from Silverdale Village to the station will continue through to Carnforth (the 18.05 will leave at 18.17) and there will be a new journey from Silverdale at 19.40 through to Carnforth arriving at 2021.
The new buses offer reasonable connections with the 555 at Carnforth. Passengers for Warton, Yealand and Silverdale will be able to leave Lancaster an hour later than present at 18.30 and it will be possible for them to leave Kendal at 18.05, Keswick at 16.30 and Bowness at 17.40 (on service 755).  It will also be easier for passengers from Lancaster to visit Silverdale as the new journeys to Carnforth will connect with Lancaster services there.

Service 89  Lancaster  - Knott End on Sea
Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire will continue to operate this service. All journeys will operate via the main entrance to the Infirmary (the "H" suffix is likely to be dropped and the section of route via MU2 is not operating due to building work at the turning point). 
The 07.02 Pilling to Lancaster journey will run 10 minutes earlier than now, whilst the first two buses of the day from Lancaster are retimed to depart 5 minutes earlier at 06.15 and 07.45.
The last supported bus of the day from Knott End to Lancaster remains at 18.00. The later, 19.30, journey is operated outside the contract and the BUG hopes this will continue to be the case.

Service 81 at Kirkby Lonsdale
The situation on the last supported service - the 81 Lancaster to Kirkby Lonsdale is not quite so straightforward. Lancashire County Council currently only pays for the 18.40 Lancaster to Kirby Lonsdale journey (which operates beyond Hornby only on request and was included in the supported network following a BUG campaign). The remainder of the service is provided commercially by Stagecoach, with some early and late journeys run by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire and so the council cannot just seek tenders for an improved service.  Instead it is "in discussion" with the operators to develop a number of options for improvement that are likely to require some funding by the council for approval by the Cabinet Member, Cllr Keith Iddon.

The Bus Users' Group has submitted a number of ideas including re-introducing a service to the north side of the valley through Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington; running the 18.40 all the way to Kirkby Lonsdale and back in service without the need to "request it" and requiring the two operators to accept each other's tickets and produce a joint timetable for the public.  We have been promised an input into the "discussions" although it has to be said there has been no sign of that to date.

As ever, we will post full timetables on this website as soon as they are available.

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