Bus users can look forward to better transport links from early 2018 thanks to new investment by Lancashire County Council.
Improved services are due to begin in Lancaster, Rossendale and West Lancashire after the county council last year agreed to make an extra £1m available to support bus services, increasing the budget from £2m to £3m.
A raft of improved services began in December 2017, restoring lost links between rural communities, putting extra buses on routes where there is more demand, and helping to stabilise the network to support routes which might otherwise disappear.
But three more services are now on the way – two of them in places where the best solution to improving a local bus route was to work with local operators to extend existing commercial services rather than start a completely new route.
County Councillor Andrew Snowden, lead member for highways and transport, said: “Supporting a good public transport network is one of our key priorities as it helps our economy, widening access to opportunities for work and education. Buses also provide journeys for essential activities such as seeing friends and family, visiting the shops and attending vital appointments.
“These new buses add to all the improved services which began in December 2017, restoring even more public transport links to local communities. We’ve listened to what people have told us about the local need for these buses, and the difference they will make to their lives. These new contracts are for three years I’d ask that everyone support these services once they begin operating to help us sustain them.
“I know how much these services will mean to local residents. I have been working with a number of my fellow county councillors who have put the case forward passionately for services to these three areas. Davis Morris MP has also contacted me numerous times on behalf of residents about the Lune Valley services.”
From Monday 29 January, a new Service 446 will operate between Rawtenstall, Bacup and Todmorden, restoring a daytime local bus link across the Rossendale Valley between Rawtenstall and Todmorden.
Operated by Rosso, the new service is linked with the company’s existing Service 465 which operates only at the start and end of the school day. The new Service 446 will offer services every 90 minutes throughout the day, running between Rawtenstall and Todmorden via Waterfoot, New Line, Bacup and Sharneyford. The new service restores the link to New Line, Bacup.
From Monday 12 February Lancashire County Council will operate a new Service 315 between Ormskirk, Haskayne, Halsall and Shirdley Hill, restoring a public transport link to the Shirdley Hill area which has not had a bus since a commercial service was diverted away from there in 2014. The new service to be run by Holmeswood Coaches will provide a bus every two hours linking the villages to Ormskirk and Southport.
From Monday 5 March, Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire Ltd, in partnership with Lancashire County Council, will introduce a new 582 bus service to restore a daytime local bus link for the villages of Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington.
The new regular two-hourly bus service operating Monday to Saturday daytime will run between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale via Caton, Brookhouse, Hornby, Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington.
The new Service 582 is an extension to the existing commercial service from Kirkby Lonsdale to Skipton, and will also connect with Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire’s wider North Yorkshire Craven Connection network Services 580 and 581 offering through links to Ingleton, Settle and Skipton.
You can find out more about recently improved services by searching for ‘bus improvements’ at www.lancashire.gov.uk. Timetables for the new services starting in 2018 will be published on the website as soon as they are finalised.