Lancashire bus services cuts proposed

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Cuts to bus services in Lancashire are being proposed by the county council.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) plans to save £3.8m over the next two years by withdrawing subsidies which enable evening and Sunday services to operate.

The authority said it would focus on "maintaining daytime services" and invest an extra £500,000 in community transport.

A consultation period on the plans, which would affect 72 services from May if approved, is under way.

'Most vulnerable'

Transdev, which operates numerous bus services in Lancashire, is yet to comment.

LCC said the proposals are part of the budget for 2014 as it seeks to save £300m over the next four years due to central government funding cuts.

County councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the authority spends £8m on subsidising a fifth of the county's bus services which are not commercially viable.

Mr Fillis said: "This proposal would maintain the bulk of that spending, while saving £1.8m next year and £2m a year after that, by focusing on subsidising routes during the day when they are most used by people going about their business."

He said: "I'm fully aware that the withdrawal of any bus service would have an impact upon the people who use it.

"These are proposals at this stage and no decision will be taken without carefully considering the results of this consultation."

He said subsidies would continue to 103 daytime services although this would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis when its current contract expires to ensure it "remains sustainable".

He said plans for an additional £500,000 investment in community transport such as dial-a-ride services was to "safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society" which was the authority's top priority.

The consultation period ends on 10 January with the 2014 budget decided at a full county council meeting on 20 February.

Meanwhile, a £40m scheme, the Pennine Reach Project, to improve bus journeys in East Lancashire was approved by the transport minister Norman Baker in October.

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