The county council has boosted its budget for buses by a further £750,000 for the coming year to fund improved links, particularly in rural areas, and increase frequency of services where there is strong demand. The council is also using funding secured through the planning process to ensure the residents of major new housing developments have good access to public transport.
The council has been working with local operators on a number of improvements to services due to be introduced at the start of May.
These include more frequent services between Preston Gregson Lane, Bamber Bridge and Leyland, and improved journey times between Preston and Wigan.
These routes will also see the introduction of newer, more modern, cleaner buses with improved customer features such as contactless payments and WiFi.
County Coun Andrew Snowden, lead member for buses, said: “Improving public transport has been one of our top priorities as we recognise that good bus services are vital for people to get to work, access education and other services, and are a lifeline for people in rural areas.
“We’ve already restored lost links to many communities which would otherwise have very little or no public transport, and we’re now building on this by making existing services more frequent, reliable and convenient to use.
“Working closely with operators to introduce these improvements also means that passengers will benefit from their investment in the vehicle fleet.
“All of this helps to make routes more sustainable by ensuring people see their local bus as a good choice which they can depend on to travel in comfort.
“While there are still restrictions on using public transport at the moment, these improvements meet a number of requests from communities for better connections and will help to support our economy as Lancashire recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
A number of improvements will begin from Sunday, May 2:
Service 111 Preston – Lostock Hall – Leyland – Eccleston – Standish – Wigan
The route and timetable will be revised, extending the service through from Leyland to Wigan, replacing Service 113 over this section.
The Monday to Saturday daytime service will operate as normal between Preston and Leyland Moss Side, then extend hourly from Leyland through to Wigan via Eccleston, Heskin, Wrightington Bar, Shevington Moor and Standish.
This more direct service between Preston, Leyland and Wigan will significantly improve journey times for those passengers travelling over the longer distances.
The section between Shevington Moor, Standish and Wigan will be revised to operate via Rectory Lane and Chorley Road and continue to be operated in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester.
Service 113 Preston – Bamber Bridge – Leyland – Eccleston – Wigan
This service will be withdrawn and replaced by the extension to Service 111 between Leyland and Wigan, in partnership with Stagecoach, and by the new Service 153 between Preston and Leyland.
Service 153 Preston – Gregson Lane – Bamber Bridge – Tardy Gate – Leyland
This new service will replace the withdrawn Service 113 between Preston and Leyland.
It will operate between Preston and Leyland via Higher Walton, Gregson Lane, Bamber Bridge, Tardy Gate, Lancashire Enterprise Park, Leyland Broadfield and Earnshaw Bridge.
With funding support through the planning system due to the new housing development on Brindle Road, along with further investment from the county council, the Monday to Saturday daytime service frequency will be improved from hourly to every 30 minutes, along with some extra journeys in the early evening.
A new hourly Sunday service between Preston and Bamber Bridge will also be introduced.
Transdev Rosso will operate this service on behalf of the county council. In conjunction with Transdev’s Hotline Service 152, the service frequency between Preston and Higher Walton will be improved. Integrated ticketing will be available on both the tendered Service 153 and the commercial Service 152.