Lancashire’s buses could get another cash lifeline

FUNDING LIFELINE: A rural bus service
FUNDING LIFELINE: A rural bus service
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Public transport campaigners and politicians were today waiting for further details over apparent plans to throw Lancashire’s subsidised bus services a 12-month lifeline.

County Coun John Fillis, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, has revealed he is considering extending the council’s tendered public bus service contracts for a further 12 months – until March 31, 2018.

The council says its is “allowing more time to explore and evaluate potential alternative public transport solutions.” The move would end uncertainty for residents across Lancashire about the future of many local bus services – at least for the next financial year

Today, Chorley County Coun Mark Perks said he would be delighted to learn more – and was puzzled why the announcement had just been made.

He said the proposed 
axeing of the subsidies given to bus firms to save costs had 
“obvious flaws” in it from the outset.

He said of the apparent rethink: “I’m puzzled as to why this has happened now. Why has this been done now – if there were other options why weren’t they explored right at the start? Where is the money coming from?”

Lancaster-based County Coun Gina Dowding said today: “I think it is essential that the current support given to bus services across the county now remains in place – not just for another year.

“Many people, in rural communities in particular, are dependent on services for work, study and vital trips.

Coun Fillis said: “I have asked officers to continue looking at alternative ways of delivering public transport in the county and I will consider whether to extend funding for the existing LCC tendered bus service for a further 12 months to allow that to happen.”

A decision is expected on December 8.