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Labour Bid to Protect Vulnerable Passengers

Lancashire County Council’s Conservative administration has proposed to cut Community Transport Funding by £391,000 affecting some of the most vulnerable passengers, many of whom cannot stand at bus stops. The proposal report recognises that Community Transport Consortium (CTC) services play a major role in promoting good health and wellbeing, reducing loneliness and isolation and helping people access important services.

These changes are likely to have a disproportionate effect on smaller communities and those living in rural areas. Many local rural services like banks, post offices, local shops, doctors and other services are being withdrawn, leaving people stranded if they can’t travel. There are more than 6,200 regular users of these services who between them made in excess of 166,000 journeys in 2016/17.

These cuts will affect people who use this door to door service in the Ribble Valley, Preston and South Ribble, Chorley and West Lancashire under contract to Lancashire County Council. The Council’s Travelcare service provides an off-peak Dial-a-Ride service in the other six Lancashire districts.

County Councillor John Fillis said “Labour recognises the damage this Conservative cut brings and will be proposing a joint package between Transport, Adult Social Care and Health to maintain and develop a strategic service in keeping with the CTC current service. This would be personalised for those vulnerable people who are at risk of becoming isolated by the cut in service.”

“Through the Community Transport Operators, we should be able to identify those at risk and support can then be provided. Labour is asking that the current proposal be dropped and a joint service be developed with the consortium. This will reduce the distress to those people affected and their family and friends by providing a £130,000 a year package for the next three, to reduce the risk and improve the lives of people in our communities. This money should not just come out of the transport budget.”

“The £391,000 cut could result in millions of pounds being spent by Adult Social Care and the National Health Service in dealing with the recognised risks to people’s mental and physical health caused by this type of cut. The effect on these people’s lives could be devastating and the knock on effect to the rest of our communities would be just as traumatic especially for our National Health Service, who would be left to pick up the avoidable health problems.”

“We recognise that the Conservatives are in control, but we would hope that they would recognise what the report says and how this service is such a lifeline to so many people. Despite the Conservative cuts we have a duty of care, we can reduce the impact on local people and with the support of every single councillor we will.”

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