Great Britain

Restored bus routes as East Lancashire services receive HUGE £750k boost

Bus routes across East Lancashire will be getting a major boost in July after Lancashire County Council announced an extra £750,000 in funding.

From 19 July, a number of improvements will be made to existing links, particularly in rural areas, and with vital services such as hospitals.

The plans include a restoration of a Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service between Rawtenstall, Water and Burnley and Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Blackburn.

Councillor Andrew Snowden, lead member for buses, said: "We've made improving public transport one of our top priorities as it's vital to people's daily lives and our local economy, with many people relying on buses to get to work, access education and other services, do their shopping and visit friends.

"This new funding will help to build on the investment we've already made in restoring links for communities which might otherwise have no or very little public transport, and supports the commercial network to ensure transport connections across the county are as effective as possible.

"Some of the improvements being introduced this summer will also increase the frequency of a number of services where there is most demand, developing more attractive and sustainable services for the future.

"While there are still restrictions on using public transport at the moment, these improvements meet a number of requests from communities for better connections and will help to support our economy as Lancashire begins to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic."

The council received the extra funding following a successful bid to the Department for Transport's 'A better deal for bus users' programme.

The investment will meet a number of outstanding requests for bus services received from residents, local councillors and MPs, as well as building on improvements introduced in December 2017 when the county council increased its annual budget for buses.

In Ribble Valley and Hyndburn, a Monday to Saturday daytime service between Clitheroe, Whalley, Great Harwood, Rishton, Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Royal Blackburn Hospital will be restored.

The plans will also increase the frequency on the daytime service link between Clitheroe, Gisburn, Barnoldswick, Earby and Skipton from two hourly to hourly, as well as restore a Sunday and Bank Holiday service.

The new investment comes despite the current advice to only use buses where absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but the county council said it recognises that they still play a vital part in accessing to local services, schools and workplaces.

The county council's supported bus service network resumed normal operation at the beginning of June after moving to a Saturday timetable at the beginning of lockdown.

Elsewhere in the county, the council plans to “strengthen and extend” the existing Monday to Saturday daytime service between Chorley and Astley Village, extending the service through to Leyland and restoring links for unserved parts of Buckshaw Village.

The route will also reconnect a direct bus service to Chorley Hospital from the extended route.

The bus link between The Vale, The Marsh, The Ridge and Lancaster East estates with the city centre will also be restored on Sunday and Bank Holidays.

A Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service will also be restored between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale through the Lune Valley.

In Wyre and Fylde, the council plan to introduce a Monday to Saturday daytime service link between Fleetwood, Poulton and Staining, as demanded by residents.

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