Trouble on the buses

Angry: Inskip councillors Phil James and Martin Delaney at the deserted bus stop in Preston Road
Angry: Inskip councillors Phil James and Martin Delaney at the deserted bus stop in Preston Road
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A bus company which axed a rural route just 11 days after taking it over could face court action.

Villagers between Preston and Fleetwood say Classic Bus North West abandoned their “lifeline” service before Christmas, leaving them stranded.

A campaign has begun to have the hourly buses restored. But now Lancashire County Council has revealed it will be lodging a complaint with the Traffic Commissioner and also considering legal action against the company for breach of contract.

“We hope the county council act quickly because it is totally unacceptable to leave villages like ours without any public transport,” said Coun Phil James, chairman of the Inskip-with-Sowerby Parish Council near Preston.

“We are very angry about what has happened to our bus service, particularly with the county council awarding the contract to a company which only managed to run it for 11 days. It begs the question what sort of financial checks were made before it was awarded? It would seem they have been negligent in not exercising a little more care.

“Morally we feel the county has a duty to sustain some sort of service for villages like Inskip and Catforth. We have no alternative. We are completely bus-less and that is very worrying for people who rely on the buses to get to the doctors or to a hospital appointment. And what about children at the village school who use the bus to get there and back?”

County councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for higways and transport, has written to the villagers saying CBNW’s suspension of the service within 11 days was in contravention of rules which reuqire a minimum 56-day notice period.

“We will now be making a formal complaint to the Traffic Commissioner - and we will be considering taking legal action due to breach of contract through the courts.”