'It's a lifeline' – Outrage after bus from Preston to Longridge is axed by Stagecoach

A bus service transporting people throughout north Preston and in to the Ribble Valley is set to be axed in a cost-cutting exercise.

By Tom Earnshaw, Reporter
Friday, 11th October 2019, 10:40 am
A Stagecoach bus
A Stagecoach bus

Stagecoach is set to scrap the Number 4 service from Preston to Longridge.

The bus transports passengers from Preston city centre to Longridge via Preston's College, Royal Preston Hospital, Fulwood, Woodplumpton, Broughton, Goosnargh, and Whittingham.

One person with connections to the Guild Lodge Secure Mental Health Facility, a medium-secure mental health hospital in Whittingham, spoke to the Post about his worries over cancelling the service.

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The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "It's a lifeline for Whittingham residents, for people at the Guild Lodge.

"They use the bus as part of their road to recovery.

"Part of that is about reintegration into society. It's a social service for them.

"A lot of pensioners also rely on it to get about.

Guild Lodge

"A lot of people haven't got cars and will be isolated because of this.

"I know one guy who gets on it to visit his wife at the Crystal Hall care home [in Whittingham] every day. He's going to have to find another way to get there now.

"They're also building the new Aldi in Longridge. Again, not everyone has cars. And with all these houses, these people moving to the area will have children.

"How many would have used the service to get to Longridge High School?"

Stagecoach has confirmed that Lancashire County Council, which is responsible for roads across the county, are in discussions to arrange a replacement, if possible.

Regarding the Number 4 service, a spokesman for Stagecoach said: "Stagecoach has taken the decision to withdraw this service, as it is not commercially viable to operate.

"We have been in discussions with Lancashire County Council and they are arranging for a replacement bus service from November 4.

"At this stage, the exact details and the operator of this service are not known.

"Customers should please be aware that service 4C to Preston's College is not affected by this and will continue to operate as normal."

Michelle Woodburn, organiser of protest group Goosnargh and Whittingham Against Overdevelopment, contacted Lancashire County Council's Bus Services Team over the issue.

In their response, a team member said: "We are aware that Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire will revise the route and timetable, revising the service to only operate College days only between Preston, Preston's College and Royal Preston Hospital only from 3 November 2019.

"All journeys through to Longridge will be withdrawn.

"Lancashire County Council are establishing if any alternative sustainable replacement service can be provided.

"We are unable to provide further information at this stage but we will keep you updated."