Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Have Your Say: Local Bus Service Subsidy Cuts

Original image via Stagecoach (Mash-Up via Internet)

Lancashire County Council has launched its initial consultation on the withdrawal of service subsidies from local bus services, as cuts in funding from central government continue to bite. We've listed all the local services that will be affected by these plans.

Although the consultation has only just begun, the Council has already formally advised the bus operators that funding will be cut and that the subsidies for Lancashire County Council bus service contracts will cease on 2nd April 2016.

The same services that faced cuts in 2014 are again under threat across the County, with cuts that will see an end to some services between Lancaster, Preston and Blackpool as well as local towns  and villages.

The Council's plans to cut services in 2014 met with fierce opposition, with over 1200 people signing a petition opposing cuts to services in the Lune Valley alone, criticism from both local MPs at the time, including current Morecambe MP David Morris, forcing an embarrassing climbdown on the plans for the Labour-run council.

Bus fare prices rose for school children in the aftermath of the cuts plans, and more recently, Lancashire County Council has offered communities the opportunity to run their own bus services through parish, town and borough councils to improve existing services and develop new routes.

Services that are subsidised in our local area and may be cut are:

001 Silverdale Shuttle (Monday to Saturday daytime)
002C Knott End - Stalmine - Hambleton - Poulton - (Blackpool) (Daily daytime and evenings)
005 Carnforth - Morecambe - Heysham - Overton (Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays)
005B Brookhouse - Morecambe (Monday to Saturday daytime)
005C Carnforth - Morecambe (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday daytime)
007 Lancaster - Vale/Lancaster - Marsh (Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays)
007S/072 Pendle Witch Hopper (Summer Sunday daytime)
010 Lancaster - Ridge (Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays)
033 Morecambe - Bare Circular (Monday to Saturday daytime)
040 Morecambe - Lancaster - Garstang - Preston (Daily odd time journeys)
042 Lancaster - Garstang - Poulton - Blackpool (Monday to Saturday evenings)
051 Carnforth - Warton - Silverdale (Daily daytime and evenings)
055 Lancaster - Carnforth (Daily evenings)
055C Carnforth - Lancaster (Monday, Wednesday and Friday daytime)
081A/081B Lancaster - Hornby - Kirkby Lonsdale (Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays)
081A/081B (Lancaster) - Hornby - Arkholme/Melling - Kirkby Lonsdale (Monday to Saturday daytime)
089/089H Knott End - Pilling - Glasson Dock - Lancaster (Daily daytime and evenings)

Over the next five years to 2020/21 the council faces an unprecedented financial challenge, and needs to make savings of £262m on top of those agreed within previous budget processes. This extremely difficult financial picture is the result of continued cuts in funding by Government, rising costs and rising demand for key services.

Based on current spending and forecast demand for services, the council says it will not have sufficient financial resources to meet its statutory obligations by April 2018, even if they no longer continue to deliver any of the non-statutory services. The council will need to rely heavily on reserves in order to set a balanced budget for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

"With regards to the proposals for withdrawing all subsidies for bus services, unfortunately, many of the proposals will affect a wide range of service areas and impact on frontline services," the Council says. "Where possible, we are continuing to look for more efficient ways of working that save money without affecting our customers and communities.

"We have formally advised the bus operators of this decision and that the subsidies for Lancashire County Council bus service contracts will cease on 2 April 2016.

"Whilst many of these bus service contracts are not commercially viable, bus operators are considering whether they could provide some service level in the area, without any level of subsidy. Where this is not possible bus operators will deregister the service with the Traffic Commissioner from 2 April 2016. We have asked operators if they could confirm their intentions as soon as possible on this matter."

The Council says in its preamble to its consultation (which asks users to indicate which services they use and leave their opinion on the plans) that when information about potential service coverage is known, they will forward details of those services, whole or sections, which the Council are anticipating not to be provided, to other operators to establish if there are alternative commercial opportunities to maintain some level of service in an area.

"Following these discussions with bus operators, we would then be in a position to advise residents/local communities where conventional bus services would no longer operate and what, if any, mitigating action can be taken.

"This consultation is focused on the impacts of this decision and what mitigation may be taken."

Have Your Say on the Proposed Bus Service Cuts here

Why Not Write To Your Local Councillors or MPs about these proposed cuts?


Contact Your City Councillor - List By Ward Here

Contact Your County Councillor - Listed Alphabetically Here

Contact Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Contact David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Outrageous plans to cut vital services which are often used by the young and elderly to keep in contact with friends and loved ones or even visit people in hospital who can't drive or can't afford a car and definitely not Taxis....not everyone can visit family during 9-5
you are preying on the vulnerable people in
society as usual....
why don't you cut free parking permits ect for council people.... and cut their expenses....

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Richard from a village called Wray. If you stop the evening services from Lancaster you will be taking my independence away and other people's we need this services. I am a person who is blind in one eye and cannot live in a city due to my illness and other disabilities why do you have to take the buses away from us why not charged the people a small amount withq Now cards and keep the Buses running we need them please keep them running and charge people small amounts in the evening and charge people with Now cards and small charged as well why should we be affected when this government get paid an absolute fortune and we get affected please keep it on we need them

Editorial said...

Hi Richard, I hope you're letting your councillors known direct what you think of these plans.

The Wray Parish Council web site is here: http://www.wrayvillage.co.uk/wrayparishcouncil.htm

Your County Councillor is Conservative County Councillor Mrs Susie Charles: http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=115. Here contact details are listed on that page as

Phone: 01524 751200

Fax: 01524 752648

Bus. phone: 01772 502999

Bus. mobile: 07917 627334

Bus. email: susie.charles@lancashire.gov.uk

Anonymous said...

These cuts are a great idea. Personally, I am sick and tired of people going to school or work on buses rather than in cars....how are we going to get the planet's temperature up if we don't use more cars and fill the roads more during the rush hour? My children go to school on one of these buses, but I'm pretty sure they will much fitter by June, when they have to walk home 8 miles every day. They don't know they're born these days. Also, this will be a real incentive to not go shopping in Lancaster, so there won't be lots of people clogging up the shops and the shop-keepers will have a nice, quiet time to think and do crosswords. I think this idea could also be improved if they made the obviously sensible decision to move the bus station to Sunderland Point.

iancresswell said...

Even more outrageous Stagecoach.
Why not cut the prices on the buses so even more people would use them thus doing away with subsidized routes.
Use money on peak hour buses on affected routes and a percentage from other honey pot roots to fund services.
Realistic profit margins would help too.

Lucy Lambert said...

Cutting my bus route to and from work I have no services at all each way what I am I going to do I don't drive? I will have to quit my job ???

Lynn snowdon said...

The cuts to the 51 bus will virtually cut so many people off from Carnforth,Lancaster, and Morecambe. Many will be unable to get to work, the doctors, vets etc..not to mention shopping. How are the numerous non drivers going to exist, without public transport out of their villags. Its Ridiculous. Also the number 5 Morecambe bus cuts all non drivers off from all the various festivals etc that are on in Morcambe, many of which are on Sundays. Perhaps a limited service could be run??