Thursday, 6 February 2014

Lancaster MP gives cautious welcome to County' Bus U-Turn

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw has given a cautious welcome to Lancashire County Council’s decision not to press ahead with cuts to bus services after a huge public outcry.

As we reported earlier, after immense pressure from Lancashire residents, local MPs and other politicians, Lancashire County Council have made a U-turn on their decision to cut our subsidised bus services.

The cuts, which Conservatives said "would have decimated local communities and businesses" (perhaps failing to appreciate the irony that their £300 million in funding cuts prompted the proposal), have had their blanket cut status reversed en-masse.

As we also noted, the Labour-led County Council are to review each bus service individually, basing cuts on a route-by-route investigation, instead of guaranteeing long-term support for these bus services. With many local people relying on these vital public services, the Conservatives argue there is still potential for many people to be cut off and isolated.

"I welcome the County Council’s decision to prevent these cuts en-masse but the County Council needs to go further in committing to keep all our rural bus services," urged Eric Ollerenshaw, Lancaster, MP, "and guaranteeing a life-line for those without private transport in our local communities.

"They should now look at new ways to market these bus services and increase passenger take-up.

"More importantly, I would like to thank all the petitioners, campaigners and local people for all their hard work in opposing these cuts. By lobbying the County Council, we have managed to ensure that the people’s voice has been heard and demonstrate the importance of our rural communities to the County Council.

"When the County Council begins to review each service individually we must continue to lobby the Council in order to prevent the bit-by-bit removal of these services."

Regular readers might also want to lobby Eric Ollerenshaw about the funding cuts that caused the crisis in the first place, which will affect a whole range of public services. After all, if public outcry can persuade the Council to change their minds, perhaps the Government can be persuaded to think again, too...

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