Thursday, 17 November 2022

Evening buses return as Bus Service Improvement Plan updated


Service 42 is set to gain new evening and Sunday buses.

Lancaster and Morecambe will see the first tangible benefits of Lancashire County Council's Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) with evening buses set to return to services 5 (Overton-Carnforth) and 42 (Lancaster - Blackpool) from 28th November after a six-year gap.

Evening buses on these services fell victim to the County Council's cutbacks in 2016 but will now return following the award of £34.6M to the council to implement parts of its Bus Service Improvement Plan made under the National Bus Strategy for England.

Timetables on each service are similar to those that operated up to 2016 with services extended until after 2300 hrs six night a week.  Further enhancements are due on the 42 early next year when additional Sunday buses will be introduced as part of an overall review of services on the A6 south from Lancaster.

The Council has allocated £3.9M of its BSIP gant to bus service enhancements in the period ending March 2025 although at this stage no more Lancaster services are earmarked for improvement.

Timetables for the additional journeys can be seen on the following links

5 Overton - Morecambe - Carnforth

42 Lancaster - Garstang - Blackpool

There has been no advance publicity for the changes by either Stagecoach or the County Council due to the grant funding still not having been fully confirmed by the government, but a decision has now been taken to go ahead in the expectation that funding will soon be in place. The Bus Users Group is therefore pleased to be able to break the news and hopes that as many people as possible will find out and be able to make use of the new journeys.

BSIP Updated

As required under the National Bus Strategy, Lancashire's Bus Service Improvement Plan has now been subjected to its first annual review. The objectives of the Plan remain unchanged, but the document now contains details of how the £34.6M allocated by the Department for Transport (DfT) (out of a bid of about £170M) will be spent in the period up to March 2025, which is as follows

  • 35 "Bus Priority Interventions" across the county, plus up to 80 sites for traffic signal priority. Cost £24.9M
  • New bus stops and upgrades supporting local bus network enhancements - £0.3M
  • Fares Support  - £3.8M to include:-
      • £1 maximum fare after 19.00hrs initiative
      • A pilot scheme on Fylde Coast for young people's season tickets that will be available on all operators' buses
      • "Travel on Saturday, get Sunday free" offer
  • Tap-on, Tap Off Ticketing development  £1.1M
  • Bus service enhancements - £3.9M to include:-
      • Better evening and Sunday services (including the 5 and 42)
      • A new bus link between Skelmersdale and Kirkby / Headbolt Lane stations for trains to Liverpool.
      • Demand Responsive Transport in the Hyndburn Council area and in Garstang - 
  • Additional staff costs to support BSIP delivery (including on costs) £0.2M
In addition to the above, Lancashire County Council and Blackburn-with-Darwen Council have identified a further £16.7M for bus service improvements from their own resources, other funding sources and developer contributions.

The updated Bus Service Improvement Plan is on this link