Bus services cut back

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Bus services across the district could be cut as part of new county council cost-cutting measures.

Lancashire County Council is proposing to reduce support for evening and weekend buses to focus on maintaining services during the daytime.

A public consultation is currently under way into the plans, which aim to save £3.8m over two years.

The scheme would see funding withdrawn for evening and Sunday services that currently receive council subsidies to allow them to operate.

However, the council proposes to invest a further £500,000 in dial-a-ride services. Four-fifths of bus services in Lancashire are run by private companies on a commercial basis. The remaining 20 per cent are not commercially viable and are currently subsidised by around £8m from the county council each year.

The plans would see subsidies withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services countywide from May 18 2014. Subsidies would continue for 103 bus services which operate during the day, but each would be reviewed on a case by case basis when its current contract expires to ensure it remains sustainable.

County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We would never have chosen to be in this financial situation but have to find ways to drastically reduce our budget due to cuts imposed by central government.”

You can view the consultation documents and the full list of services affected at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay and respond on the website. You can also email responses to lcc.bus.services@lancashire.gov.uk or by post to Bus and Supported Transport Manager, Lancashire County Council, Room D3, PO Box 100, County Hall, Preston, PR1 0LD.

The closing date for responses is January 10.

The county council’s budget will be decided at a full council meeting on February 20.