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Council set to reduce rural bus subsidies

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

Residents are being asked for their views on the plans which the council says would save £3.8m over two years and see funding withdrawn for evening and Sunday services that currently receive council subsidies.

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20 per cent of Lancashire’s bus services - which are not commercially viable - and the proposals would see subsidies withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services from May 18, 2014.

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.

Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our first priority is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society but to achieve this we have to look at everything we do and propose some difficult solutions.

“The county council spends around £8m each year subsidising bus travel. This proposal would maintain the bulk of that spending, while saving £1.8m next year and £2m a year after that, by focusing on subsidising routes during the day, when they are most used by people going about their business - getting to work or medical appointments and doing their shopping.

“We have also proposed an additional £500,000 investment in community transport such as dial-a-ride services to ensure support is focused on those with the greatest need and where the public transport network is particularly limited. These are proposals at this stage and no decision will be taken without carefully considering the results of this consultation.”

The consultation documents and list of services affected can be viewed at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay and responses made on the website. Respondents can also write by post to Bus and Supported Transport Manager, LCC, Room D3, PO Box 100, County Hall, Preston, PR1 0LD by January 10.

 

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