Villagers ‘distraught’ over plans to cut rural bus routes

Dr Alan Wood is unhappy at county council plans to cut village bus services in Halton.
Dr Alan Wood is unhappy at county council plans to cut village bus services in Halton.
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An MP has waded into the debate over cuts to bus services in rural areas.

Ben Wallace, Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, has slammed plans by Lancashire County Council (LCC) to cut subsidised bus routes in the evenings and on Sundays.

LCC currently subsidises 20 per cent of Lancashire’s bus services - which are not commercially viable - and the proposals would see subsidies withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services from May 18, 2014.

The cash-strapped council claims the move would save £3.8m over two years.

Mr Wallace said: “Cutting these services will, in effect, isolate the residents of rural villages in the evenings and on Sundays.

“Having studied the proposals it is clear to see that where services will be cut in the larger towns and cities in Lancashire, there will still be alternative public transport available.

“This is not always the case in many of the rural villages and the withdrawal of the subsidised services will leave some communities without access to any form of public transport.”

He added: “My mailbag is filling up with representations from concerned local residents who are genuinely distraught about the effect these cuts could have on their everyday lives.

“I am especially concerned about the effect they will have on people who work unsociable hours or need to visit friends and relatives in hospital.

“Many of the people affected will be elderly and I would argue that these are exactly the group of people that the County Council should be helping and protecting.”

The deadline for people to have their say as part of a public consultation is January 17.