Disappointment over Lancaster’s share of £1m for bus services

Bus parked at Dalton Square. Photo by Mike Blackstone.
Bus parked at Dalton Square. Photo by Mike Blackstone.

Bus passengers have expressed disappointment that so little of the extra £1m for bus services in Lancashire will be spent in Lancaster.

Last week, Lancashire County Council announced it would increase its funding for the bus network from £2m to £3m, with the aim being to restore lost links between communities, particularly in rural areas.

Jim Davies, chair of Lancaster Bus Users Group

Jim Davies, chair of Lancaster Bus Users Group

The council released a list of services across the county that it was looking to reintroduce, including service 81 between Lancaster, Hornby and Kirkby Lonsdale and service 89 between Lancaster, Glasson Dock, Pilling and Knott End.

The county council said it will work with bus operators to use the funding to try to develop a sustainable option to restore a daytime service link for Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington and the Lune Valley as a whole.

But Lancaster and District Bus Users’ Group said: “We are disappointed, although not surprised, that so little of the county council’s £1m will be spent in Lancaster.

“When the extra funding was announced we put forward a number of proposals that we felt met the priorities that the council announced as part of its consultation.

“These included reinstating buses to areas of Carnforth and Bolton-le-Sands; more buses to Warton and Silverdale as well as putting back evening and Sunday buses in Lancaster and Morecambe.

“None of these has been progressed.

“However we are pleased to learn that the area worst affected by the cuts, the Lune Valley, will receive funding for an improved service particularly for those villages, such as Arkholme and Whittington that currently have hardly any buses. It appears that the county council intends to discuss proposals with bus operators and stakeholders before finalising them and we very much hope to have an input when we will be pushing for the best possible use of whatever money is available.”

Lancashire County councillors are expected to vote on the new proposals at a meeting on September 15.

If agreed, detailed timetables will be developed, and all county council-supported bus services put out for competitive tender, with the revised services proposed to start from December 10.