Reader’s letters - Thursday 02 January 2014

Cuts to Lancashire's rural bus services have sparked anger

Cuts to Lancashire's rural bus services have sparked anger

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Impact of axing bus route

We live in a small rural community lying between Catforth and Inskip in Lancashire and for 40 years have been served by an excellent, efficient and reliable bus route.

We were shocked and surprised when the Cumfy Bus services 80 and 82 to Preston and Fleetwood were replaced without notice by an alternative no. 80 service operated by Classic Buses of Blackpool early this December (LEP December 23).

Cumfy Bus had provided such an great service we wrote to thank them and to say how their buses and their fantastic friendly drivers would be sorely missed.

However, the new no.80 bus disappeared after only a few days and we were devastated. We and countless others in our small community feel isolated.

We no longer have access to shops (all local shops and post offices in the area having closed long ago), medical and dental services, post offices, banks, churches and social contacts with friends in nearby villages.

The route really was a ‘life line’ for so many people, from students travelling to college to pensioners collecting their pensions and meeting friends.

As for us, Pam has been a volunteer in two local village schools since she retired in 2010, working for one afternoon in each school each week. Now, she cannot access these schools so her voluntary service is effectively over.

We are so dependent on this ‘artery’ connecting our villages to essential services that we hope, despite austerity and severe cost cutting in local services, a bus service, subsidised if necessary, can be reinstated so people in our villages will be able to continue to travel to access basic services essential to their needs.

It needs to be borne in mind that many local elderly people do not have access to cars or other alternative modes of transport.

Pam and Lewis Illingworth, via e-mail

Transport cuts will hit hard

As a young disabled man of 22, I would like to comment on the proposed cuts to several Chorley bus routes.

Much has been mentioned online about how pensioners will suffer if these bus routes are axed, but what about young bus users like myself?

I am unable to drive or cycle due to my disability. I rely on the 362 Wigan bus to get to my part-time warehouse packing job.

As I work evening shifts, I would be unable to get to work if the 362 route was axed after 6pm, leaving me no choice but to rely on taxis every night – impossible on the minimum wage.

I know many other young people unable to drive who are worried about bus routes being cut especially those in rural areas.

Some are unemployed and having no access to public transport will make it even harder for them to find jobs.

Train services from Chorley are also due to be disrupted next year due to lines being upgraded, so it’s a double kick in the teeth for us non-drivers.

I urge Lancashire to think twice about these proposed bus route cuts.

David Culber, Chorley

Plea to save a rural lifeline

We are pensioners and totally rely on the 80/82 bus service mainly for getting the three miles to our GP, six miles into Preston for shopping, getting to Royal Preston Hospital for appointments and generally getting around in this rural area of Inskip. We cannot possible rely on friends and neighbours as most of them work and have other commitments as we do to.

Luckily we are both fit and well for now and will walk if necessary, but the whole idea of no bus service is totally absurd.

What are we paying our council tax for? We have no shop now, not a policeman in sight for years, the only thing we can rely on now is the bins being emptied. This is totally unacceptable.

Jane Emmington, via e-mail

Bus route sums do not add up

As a former transit driver (and a former Leyland resident) who now lives in the US, I find it mind boggling that a single route between Blackpool and Preston needs 30 drivers and 15 support staff.

Twenty-four hours a day service (which I’m sure they didn’t provide) should only take three drivers and an on-call extra-board driver.

With that particular rear-entrance double-decker in the photo, they’d have needed a “cliippie” also, but that only adds up to eight.

For 16 hours a day the staff required would be reduced to two drivers, two conductors and part-time, on-call extra-board driver and conductor.

Add two radio operators and a mechanic that makes for three drivers (one on-call), three conductors (one on call), three radio ops (one on call) and a mechanic.

If their service interval needed two buses, increase the driver and conductor count to five each.

No wonder they went belly-up!

Name and address supplied

Fears at lack of fracking debate

Every pro-fracker – and neither me nor the Lib Dems are totally anti – uses the words ‘provided’ or ‘if’. There are three problems permanently swept under the carpet by those two words. There are no regulations in place to deal with the fracking part of the total process.

There is no effective inspection regime. The Environment Agency is having to lose staff while allegedly taking on additional responsibilities for fracking.

The Health and Safety Executive has disbanded its Offshore Safety Division (the only bit of the HSE that understands the process of oil and gas extraction by conventional means).

Fracking has only been done once in the UK – at Preese Hall.

The returned water is radioactive. There are processes for removing this radioactivity.

The recent Arup/Cuadrilla information day at Pipers Height had no information on this. For the quantities of water associated with gas production such treatment is likely to be very costly. I personally believe the avoidance of debate on these matters is because to actually do fracking really properly and safely would destroy the economics.

Mike Turner, secretary, Fylde Lib Dems