Bus route saved from axe...for four months

End of the road?: Preston Bus will terminate its number 19 service from next month
End of the road?: Preston Bus will terminate its number 19 service from next month
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A popular bus route has been saved from the axe.

Bus passengers feared they could be left stranded after a decision was made to axe part of Preston Bus’s number 19 route.

Lancashire County Council has now decided it will step in to provide a replacement service - for an initial four months.

Preston Bus’s 19 and 19a services currently run in both directions between Preston city centre and the Royal Preston Hospital via Deepdale Road and Sharoe Green Lane.

Service 19 operates via Broadwood Drive in Fulwood every 15 minutes during the day from Monday to Saturday.

Other buses are available on Sharoe Green Lane, but losing the 19 would leave residents in the Broadwood Drive area with no service from March 4.

Helen Braithwaite, 57, who regularly uses the service, said: “A lot of elderly people are dependent on this route, because it goes to the hospital.”

County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the decision was made to invest £18,500 to introduce a replacement service while all subsidised services in the area are reviewed.

Instead of operating via Deepdale Road, the new 4B will operate via Garstang Road providing a more direct link to Preston city centre.

Coun Ashton said: “I know how important buses are to people and as the transport authority the county council has to consider the impact that a decision by a commercial operator to withdraw a service may have upon people’s lives.

“Leaving people in the Broadwood Drive area, many of them elderly, with no bus at all could cause real hardship and is not something I’m prepared to accept.

“Budgets are tight across the county council which means this has not been an easy decision to make but, given the circumstances, our only reasonable course of action is to step in and provide the new 4B service for four months.

“This buys us the time to do a full review of all the buses we subsidise in the area and make sure what we have in place offers the best use of our budget.”