Bus bosses to swing the axe despite 3,000-name petitions

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Preston Bus has vowed to go ahead with its controversial plan to axe a popular route on Monday – despite two petitions containing more than 3,000 names.

Campaigners battling to keep the 88A and 88C Orbit service around Fulwood, Cottam and Ashton have vowed to keep up pressure on the company, even though the buses will stop running after the weekend.

“We didn’t expect they’d change their minds just because we asked them to,” said Denise Standing who uses the Orbit service to get to her job in Fulwood. “But to get more than 3,000 signatures in such a short time shows how unpopular this decision is and we will carry on fighting until, hopefully, we get Preston Bus to listen.

“This is an essential service for people who live or work in that part of Fulwood near to Asda. From Monday, I am going to have to get two buses to get to my job – it isn’t fair.”

The company says it is halting the 88A and 88C route because it has been running at a loss. Spokesman Thomas Calderbank explained: “Obviously, we would take 3,000-name petitions into account because, even if some people have signed both, it is still a significant number.

“Having said that, it is very unlikely that the Orbit service will return. But obviously we would look at it, although it is unlikely to be soon. We need a good amount of data to analyse the impact of this service not being there and it wouldn’t be before the autumn before we looked at it again.”

One petition, started up on Change.org by Lea resident Emma Caffrey and directed at Preston Bus had around 2,000 signatures yesterday. The other, also on Change.org by Sarah Edwards of Ribbleton and directed at the County Council, had more than 1,300.