Shock after circular bus is scrapped

Launch of the Leyland Circular last year, with Matthew Tomlinson, left.
Launch of the Leyland Circular last year, with Matthew Tomlinson, left.
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A bus service hailed as a lifeline when it was launched has been scrapped after an unsuccessful year-long trial.

Users of the Leyland Town Circular have been left shocked and saddened.

But AvaBus, which runs the service, said it was ‘no longer viable to continue’.

Now calls have been made for cash – it is claimed just £5,000 a year could save it – to be found to subsidise the service.

AvaBus gave out the statement: “Unfortunately the Leyland Town Circular will end service on the 22nd December 2017. We have trialled the run for 12 months but due to a reduction in people using this service it is no longer viable to continue.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have travelled on the Avabus over the last year.

“Sincere apologies go out to those who worked hard to get the service running and to those who contributed to the launch, and of course to the passengers who used the service.”

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire county councillor for Leyland Central and South Ribble councillor for Leyland’s Broadfield, said he was disappointed to learn of the cancellation.

“It fills in a couple of gaps in Leyland for people that were left behind when Stagecoach took over from Fishwicks.

“I’ve written to Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport. I’ve also written to Conservative county councillors who may have a bit more influence than me, but I’ve not had any encouragement from them.

“It will be a relatively small amount to keep this bus going. It’s losing about £100 a week. £5,000 a year isn’t going to break the county council.”

He also called on South Ribble Council to look at the situation - as Chorley Council has by subsidising some routes in its borough.

“I’d like the two councils to explore any options,” he said.

Resident Sandra Clayton, 73, of Wright’s Fold campaigned for bus services when the original Fishwick’s service was withdrawn.

She said; “I just don’t know where it’s going to end, because everything is going form here and going somewhere else.

“Where do we go from here if we don’t have that bus.”

County councillor Michael Green, who represents Moss Side and Farington Division, announced yesterday that a new 114 bus service would start on Monday, providing a service to the residents of Farington Moss, Moss Side, Midge Hall and Whitestake and to the employees working on Moss Side Industrial Estate.

He said it comes after Lancashire County Council invested extra funding for bus services.

“The local residents in the Croston Road area had asked if we could re-establish a bus route, as they had been left isolated since the sad demise of Fishwicks and the slashing of bus subsidies under the previous administration,” he said.

“I listened to their concerns and lobbied the county council. I was delighted when the new Conservative team at county hall agreed to invest an extra £1m into bus subsidies and agreed to include a new service through my electoral division.

“This service will restore public transport across a wide area, providing a service again to residents in the Croston Road area and also in Midge Hall, who have been isolated for some time.

“The new 114 service will link to Preston and to Chorley, including the hospital, and also to Moss Side industrial estate. I’m pleased that this will help people to access health services and job opportunities.”