Also, to help people take full advantage of late-night opening on THURSDAY nights, LATER buses will run from the City Centre, which will also be free to all passengers. These will run on 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd December
The Bus Users' Group has been concerned for some time that whilst Lancaster City Council encouraged people to shop in the city by removing parking charges in its car parks, it did nothing to help people who either do not have a car or who choose not to use one. The free parking encouraged many more people to bring their car into town, which lead to traffic congestion that delayed the buses as well as adding to pollution and all the other problems associated with car use.
Our Group has therefore been working with the Lancaster Buisness Improvement District (BID) team to develop a way of encouraging people to come into to city over Christmas without bringing a car.
One difficulty has been the early close-down of many bus services following the County Council's withdrawal of supported evening services a few years back. This has now been overcome by providing extra buses on local services after the end of the daytime service until just after the shops close at 9pm. As an added bonus, these buses will be free of charge to all passengers. They will be operated by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire and will follow the normal Stagecoach routes except that they will start and end at Common Garden Street in the city centre and will not serve the Bus Station. Stagecoach will, however, continue to operate its existing evening service on service 7 to Vale and this will also be free of charge after 8pm.
Sunday shopping is also popular in the run up to Christmas and therefore the free travel offer has been extended to services 7 10 11 and 18 where the usual Stagecoach Sunday buses will operate but without collecting fares.
Organised by the Lancaster BID team, with help from the Bus Users' Group, the project has received funding from the Government's Welcome Back Fund, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster University's Community Winmd Turbine Fund and, in what must be one of last examples of this source of funding, the European Union's Regional Dvelopment Fund.