Signs removed in ‘ridiculous’ bus stop battle

A Catch22bus stops to pick up passengers
A Catch22bus stops to pick up passengers

Signs are to be taken down just months after being put up as a battle over bus stops intensifies.

Blackpool-based Catch22 launched several routes in and around Thornton and Cleveleys last year.

The company stepped in when Lancashire County Council ended subsidies on a number of services.

Since expanding into Wyre, Catch22 has been working alongside Lancashire County Council to have new stops installed along its routes.

But now the majority of new bus stops are set to be or have been removed following complaints from residents.

Boss Philip Higgs is frustrated by the latest move and questioned how the complaints of one home owner could leave a whole community in the dark about where to catch the bus.

However, Mr Higgs insists buses have to stop somewhere.

He said: “Parts of our new routes had previously been hail and ride.

“But people always had places where they gathered to catch the bus.

“Those weren’t always the safest or most practical which is why we asked for bus stops.

“Lancashire County Council was very helpful.”

Mr Higgs was then informed by County Hall the new stops would be removed.

He said: “We have had the ridiculous situation of Lancashire putting up temporary stops, only to react to individual complaints to MPs or councillors from people who do not want a bus stop outside their house.

“Rather than a coherent policy on encouraging bus use by identifying official bus stops nobody is listening to the views of bus users.

“Official bus stops provide a discipline to both passengers and our drivers on safe stopping locations, but also a focal point for bus timetable information, without which bus services under-perform because many residents cannot access information or have the confidence about where to wait for a bus.

“Car parking is a problem on routes where there are no official bus stops, often providing accessibility issues for elderly, the disabled and passengers with pushchairs.

“We have invested in low floor accessible vehicles but cannot always make full use of them.”

County Hall bosses are still hoping to find a solution.

A spokesman said: “In response to a request from Catch 22 to provide places for passengers to wait on these routes we created some temporary bus stops by attaching signs to street lights.

“We took the approach of creating temporary stops and then consulting with residents to see how they were received, in the 
knowledge that they could easily be moved or taken down if people objected.

“We received a number of strong objections to many of the temporary stops and have taken most of them down as a result.

“We are due to meet Catch 22 soon to discuss where we may be able to provide permanent stops in more suitable locations following consultation with residents.”