Bus service cuts ‘will affect old and young’

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Teenagers and the elderly will be ‘isolated’ if plans to cut bus services go ahead, a South Ribble resident has warned.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has announced proposals to withdraw funding for evening, Sunday and bank holiday services that currently receive council subsidies to allow them to operate.

In Leyland, the 109 and 113 services are affected, and South Ribble Council’s scrutiny committee has now agreed to put forward residents’ concerns to LCC.

Speaking at a South Ribble Council meeting, New Longton resident Adrian Underwood said: “I would like to ask this council to plea to LCC to reconsider withdrawing the subsidies for rural bus routes.

“If the Sunday and evening services disappear, who will be hit? It won’t just be the elderly, who visit hospitals and care homes; what about those who work in the retail and catering industries?

“They are not all paid particularly well, they may not be able to afford to run a car.

“I acknowledge that car ownership levels are high in some areas, but what about teenagers who want to get to leisure facilities or football matches?

“Rural areas have in many cases lost their Post Offices and pubs, and to take away our bus services will not just be penny pinching economics – it will isolate significant minorities.”

He added: “If LCC goes ahead with this, they should hang their heads in shame.”

South Ribble Council leader, Coun Margaret Smith, said: “It is a very difficult situation for rural areas.

“I would welcome our scrutiny committee to take on board these concerns and submit comments to the county council.”

A public consultation into the changes was launched by LCC in December, and finished on January 17.

The council received more than 1,300 responses across Lancashire, and has said that representations from bodies such as the borough council will still be considered before a decision is made on

February 17.

If approved, it will mean subsides will be withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services across the county, from May 18.