Bus protestors in Preston are to have their lost service restored

Residents staged a protest after claiming they were left stranded without a bus service.
Residents staged a protest after claiming they were left stranded without a bus service.
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More than 3,000 “stranded” residents have been told their bus service will finally be restored - but not quite how they wanted.

A four-month campaign to return public transport to the Longsands area of Fulwood has won a reprieve from county councillors and Preston Bus.

Linda Whyborn, one of the protest leaders.

Linda Whyborn, one of the protest leaders.

But even though a new hourly No 15 service will begin operating in February, people living in the area are claiming only a “hollow” victory.

“It’s not what we wanted, but it’s better than nothing,” said Linda Whyborn (right), one of the camapign leaders.

“At least we have something, but we will persevere and maybe we can get more in the future. It’s disappointing, but we can’t do anymore right now.”

Councillors, including LCC leader Geoff Driver, faced a stormy meeting at Fulwood’s Millennium Hall this week when the new service was announced.

Residents will still face a four-bus round trip to visit the Royal Preston Hospital. The new service will finish at 6.40pm every day.

Coun Keith Iddon, LCC cabinet member for highways and transport, who attended the public meeting, said: "I'm very pleased that we've been able to restore a bus service for the Longsands area, as we have been keenly aware of the impact on residents when Preston Bus withdrew their number 14 service.

"The new number 15 service has been achieved by making some changes to the county council's existing services in the area, crucially at no extra cost.

"I hope people will understand that it has taken some weeks to get to this point because officers have been working hard to monitor passenger numbers on services in the area, and look at where the timing and routing of services could be tweaked to restore a service to Longsands.

"This is not something which could have been done immediately, and shows our determination to provide a solution to a problem which was due to a commercial decision outside of the county council's control.

"The new service for Longsands will begin in February as we can't change the existing services immediately, and I'm sorry that Preston Bus didn't take up our offer to fund the number 14 service 50:50 which would have allowed it to continue with no gap in service for passengers."