“I thought that was someone else calling to complain about service cuts,” said the councillor as he answered the phone.
County councillor Mike Devaney was talking about buses – or more to the point the looming loss of them.
Worried folk throughout Lancashire are waiting to hear if the bus that takes them to work, the shops, the hospital, will still be there for them.
In particular, the elderly and isolated living in rural locations, for whom the bus is a lifeline, are seriously worried.
For Lancashire County Council is preparing to give the go-ahead to its plans to save £65m over the next two years, as part of action to tackle a massive funding gap of at least £262m faced by April 2020.
The plans will result in the loss of an estimated 367 full-time equivalent jobs, in addition to the 1,100 staff who have already left the authority since January 2014.
At the same time the council will be continuing work on delivering the remaining savings identified last year, adding up to a further saving of almost £148m over the period 2015/16 to 2017/18.
The decisions follow the announcement in August that the council needs to save an additional £262m by April 2020, to tackle a funding gap caused by reduced government funding and rising demand for services. Last week it announced further cuts in Government funding.
The county’s public transport chiefs have been urged to reconsider the hugely controversial proposals
County Coun Devaney, speaking at the latest meeting of Brindle Parish Council, said the Tory group’s request had been made because of the scale of objections to cuts.
Coun Devaney, who represents Chorley rural north, said: “With my Conservative colleagues, we’ve said they should go back to their officers and do an assessment route by route rather than have a blanket chop.
“The 112 and 114 through Cuerden and Lancaster Lane and that is going to stop completley in April. A lot of people rely on that bus route, not just to get to Chorley but kids getting to school.
“Even worse is chopping routes for disabled people and people with special needs. My mailbag is full of complaints.”
He added: “There’s certainly a need to save some money
“In my view there’s certainly a need for bus companies to look at operating costs, but the answer isn’t cancelling bus services, especially in rural areas.”
Preston’s two park and ride services from Preston Portway and Walton le Dale, provided by Preston Bus, could also be vulnerable, although the council says it still hopes a lifeline can be found.
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have given the required six months’ notice to end the current contract for Preston’s Park and Ride services from May 2016, and are currently exploring options for how we may be able to continue to provide a Park and Ride service at no direct cost to the county council.”
Meanwhile other contractors operating subsidised services have been given just 12 weeks’ notice that council funding will end.
Residents in the Ribble Valley villages of Ribchester and Chipping face being marooned without bus services.
A £535,000 subsidy keeping four services on the road, linking the villages to Longridge, Whalley, Clitheroe, Mellor, Accrington and Blackburn is to go. Ribchester Parish Council clerk Alan Ormand said talks were continuing to see if there was any chance of providing a partial service, but with a budget of just £8,000 Ribchester Parish Council had no funds to help support a service.
The complete list of services subsidised by Lancashire County Council is:
5 Carnforth - Morecambe - Heysham - Overton
42 Lancaster - Garstang - Poulton - Blackpool
51 5B 5C 55C Carnforth - Warton - Silverdale; Brookhouse - Morecambe; Carnforth - Morecambe; Carnforth - Lancaster
55 Lancaster - Carnforth
81A, 81B Lancaster - Hornby - Kirkby Lonsdale
1 Silverdale Shuttle
7 10 Lancaster - Vale / Lancaster - Marsh
33 Morecambe - Bare Circular
74 Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Poulton - Blackpool
12, 13 Poulton - Norcross - Bispham
84A Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Poulton - Blackpool
87 Cleveleys - Thornton - Carleton - Poulton
86, 89, 89H Fleetwood - Cleveleys - Knott End Knott End - Pilling - Glasson Dock - Lancaster
5B Clitheroe - Longridge - Chipping - Garstang
22 Clitheroe - Whalley - Blackburn
26, 27 Burnley - Padiham - (Sabden) - Clitheroe
10 Clitheroe - Hodder Valley Circular
2, 4, 7, 7A, 7B Clitheroe Town Services
Clitheroe - Waddington - Chatburn - Nelson
5, 14, 14A, 15, 25
Chipping - Longridge - Whalley - Clitheroe
Clitheroe - Whalley - Accrington - Royal Blackburn Hospital
Chipping - Longridge - Mellor - Blackburn
Clitheroe - Whalley - Brockhall - Mellor - Blackburn
180, X80, 280 Skipton - (Barnoldswick) - Gisburn - Clitheroe
Clitheroe - Whalley - Preston
75 Fleetwood - Poulton - Kirkham - Preston
76 Blackpool - Victoria Hospital - Poulton - Kirkham - St Annes
78 St Annes - Lytham - Kirkham - Wesham
79 Freckleton Lamaleach Caravan Park - Kirkham
68 Preston - Lytham - St Annes - Blackpool
1 Preston Park & Ride (Portway & Walton-le-Dale)
14, 114 Preston - Holme Slack- Preston - Bamber Bridge
80 Preston - Great Eccleston - Myerscough
12/12A, 13/13A, 112, 114
Preston - New Longton - Longton
Preston - Penwortham
Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Croston
Preston - Sainsburys - Whittle Le Woods - Chorley
113 Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Wigan
217 Preston - Mellor
110 Leyland - Croston - Southport
115 Preston - Leyland - Chorley
118 Leyland - Clayton Brook - Blackburn
150 Preston - Bamber Bridge
12A Preston - New Longton - Tarleton - Ormskirk
24A, 109A Chorley - Brinscall - Abbey Village - Blackburn
Chorley - Astley Village
109 Chorley - Leyland - Preston
337, 347 Chorley - Eccleston - Mawdesley - Ormskirk
Chorley - Eccleston - Mawdesley - Southport
231, 8 Clitheroe - Accrington- Accrington - Spring Hill
81A, 81B (Lancaster) - Hornby - Arkholme/Melling - Kirkby Lonsdale
40 Morecambe - Lancaster - Garstang - Preston
2C Knott End - Stalmine - Hambleton - Poulton - (Blackpool)
61 Preston - Blackpool (Peel Corner Diversion)
113 Preston - Bamber Bridge - Leyland - Wigan
152 Preston - Blackburn - Burnley
4, 7B, 5A (Preston) - Fulwood - Longridge
Clitheroe local evening service (Thu/Fri/Sat evening)
Clitheroe - Longridge - Chipping (Thu/Fri/Sat evening)
151 Preston - Bamber Bridge via Hoghton
2A (Preston) - Tarleton - Ormskirk
6, 6A Network Chorley
362 Chorley - Wigan