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Plans underway for £1m boost to Lancashire's buses


Axed Bus Montage. Original image via Stagecoach (Mash-Up via Internet)
Original image via Stagecoach (Mash-Up via Internet)
John Freeman

Lancashire County Council will this week take a major step towards improving the county's bus network, with councillors due to meet to discuss where investment is most needed.

The council's new administration has committed to make an extra £1m available to support bus services, increasing the budget from £2m to £3m.

Key priorities are to restore lost links between communities that were cut in recent years as budgets were squeezed by reductions in central government subisidies, particularly in rural areas where people who don't drive or own a car rely most on public transport, increase the frequency of services on routes where there is more demand, and stabilise the network to support routes which might otherwise disappear.

County Councillor Andrew Snowden, lead member for highways and transport, has started a cross-party consultation for councillors to consider draft proposals for improving services, and put forward their ideas.

"I'm keen to ensure passengers benefit from the improvements to bus services we promised as soon as possible," he commented. "I have already been working with officers on some draft proposals for how we could best meet the needs of communities with the new funding.

"However, I also want to ensure that county councillors have the opportunity to input into work on behalf of the communities they represent and raise any issues they are aware of which will help to make sure the proposals we eventually bring forward have a real impact and provide the best possible value for money.

"A good public transport network is vital to support our economy, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access work and education. It also plays a vital role in helping people to carry out everyday tasks such as doing their shopping, visiting family and friends, and getting to health appointments.

"This extra funding will make a significant impact in supporting and supplementing the commercial network to link communities which might otherwise have no or very little public transport, and help to ensure transport connections across Lancashire are as effective as possible."

• Following consultation with councillors, which begins with drop-in sessions being held this week, proposals will be presented to the county council's cabinet on Thursday 14th September 2017