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The future of Chorley’s buses has been decided

Chorley Council has approved plans which will secure the longer term future of some of Chorley’s bus routes after stepping in to keep services running after funding was cut by Lancashire County Council.

The authority has been funding a number of services serving parts of the town centre as well as villages such as Wheelton, Brinscall, Abbey Village and Astley Village after the county council reduced its funding in 2016 and a commercial operator withdrew a service in 2017.

The authority stepped in to keep the services running in response to requests from residents and after councillors met on Tuesday, it has been decided to continue with some services and create a new route that will merge the others, saving £140,000 in the process.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council said: “Residents have told us these services are vital to them so when the county council announced it was cutting its funding a couple of years ago we decided to step in to keep them running.

“While we did that on a temporary basis initially, we have since been working with the county council to find a more sustainable way of serving these communities.

“At the meeting on Tuesday, we approved plans to keep the 109B and 4A services and will seamlessly re-design a new 357 service that will be a combination of the 7C and 6A services, that can run from late summer.

“The bus services are really important because they get people into work, give people the chance to access health services and give people a way of getting about and accessing town and village centres.”

Chorley Council’s current bus subsidy for 2017/2018 could cost up to £225,000 per annum based on customer usage, however once the re-design of the bus routes comes into place Chorley Council costs will be reduced to £83,400, and the new service will be jointly funded by both Chorley Council and Lancashire County Council.

“We will continue to work with the county council to ensure the borough’s bus routes are maintained and improved” said Councillor Bradley.

“While in an ideal world we believe this would be and should be funded by the county council, which has responsibility for transport, they have also suffered from government cuts which is why we feel it is important we continue to invest in the services to keep them running.

“I hope the county council will keep looking at ways of improving the transport system in Chorley and ensure that we get a fair share of any investment going forward so that residents are getting value for money for what they pay in council tax.”

Through these proposals, Chorley Council will save money and can continue to deliver bus services which are important for their residents and visitors.

The item was discussed at Tuesday’s full council meeting and was approved. To see the full report visit chorley.gov.uk.

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