Friday, 14 June 2013

Lancaster Bus Station gets its notice board back at last

Campaigners welcome the arrival of the new Bus Station sign earlier today.
Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council

A new bus information board has been unveiled at Lancaster Bus Station today to signpost travellers in the right direction, finally replacing the departure board switched off by Lancashire County Council in 2011 as a cost-saving measure.

Councillors, residents and campaigners have hailed the sight of the new board, the result of a one and a half year campaign to get a renewed service - and a partnership between Lancaster City Council, United Utilities and Lancaster University.

Councillors Ian and Margaret Pattison began their campaign to get a new board up in November 2011, when Lancashire County Council switched off the previous service. The Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee investigated the issue and initiated talks with Stagecoach and Lancaster University to look at options for replacement signage.

Thanks to the campaigners, working with City Council, Lancaster University and United Utilities the new system has been produced to help residents and tourists get around the district from Lancaster as smoothly as possible.

Lancaster University Information Systems Services had already developed a similar solution for the university underpass and used their know-how to design a similar system for Lancaster Bus Station.

After being contacted by Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, water company United Utilities agreed to fund the project as a thank you to the local community for putting up with major road works.

The new system uses the university’s iLancaster mobile phone platform and a modern LCD screen to display bus departures.

In a join statement Coun Ian Pattison and Coun Margaret Pattison, who campaigned to get the Bus Station Board as one of the Council’s priorities, said, “It is great to see the new board up and working. It really makes the hours spent here in the bus station and out on the streets campaigning with residents for a new information board worth while.

“A big thank you to those and the University who used their expertise to make this happen, the Officers in Democratic Services Lancaster City Council who worked so hard after we brought it to Overview and Scrutiny and to United Utilities for working with us to make this public private project a success.” 

“The success of this campaign truly shows good things can be done even when the public sector is having a difficult time financially. Now this is done, we will have to look for another campaign and project to work on to help residents and tourists enjoy living, working and visiting our district as much as possible.” 

 “I was delighted to help facilitate the re-introduction of an Electronic Bus Service Time Table for our City," says local MP Eric Ollerenshaw. "This will make a real difference to people getting around Lancaster and many thanks to United Utilities for helping Lancaster City Council make this happen.”

Coun David Kerr, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Lancaster City Council, said:  “This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by being able to tap into the technical expertise on offer at Lancaster University, as well as the support from United Utilities.   I am certain that the return of the information board at Lancaster Bus Station will be a welcome sign for many.” 

Dawn Harrington, United Utilities’ Project Manager for Lancaster, said:  “We’re doing a lot of work around Lancaster at the moment to improve our wastewater network and clean up the River Lune. It’s meant a lot of upheaval at the bus station because some pretty major work needed to be done there. I’m really pleased we can reward passengers for their infinite patience by funding this sign. Hopefully it will make their lives a little easier.”

“It’s been fantastic to be able to give something back to the community in this way,” said Chris Dixon, Lancaster University's Head of Service Delivery and Operations.

“Projects like this demonstrate what the university is about. Innovating and then taking that innovation and learning to the wider community. Now not only users travelling to the university, but the public can benefit and, once again, have access to a much needed service.”

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