Sign up and save our buses!

Members of the Ormerod Ramblers at Fleetwood are against cutbacks to subsidised bus services.
Members of the Ormerod Ramblers at Fleetwood are against cutbacks to subsidised bus services.

Fleetwood folk are backing a campaign to help safeguard bus routes which are under threat.

And the Weekly News is calling on all residents to add their voices to the campaign, by signing the petition inside this edition.

It follows news that Lancashire County Council is considering plans to axe 12 subsidised bus service contracts across Wyre and Fylde.

At this stage County Hall says the plans are only options, and a public consultation will be held in January before the key budget decision in February.

But it is likely some bus services will be cut, as transport bosses have identified public transport reductions as a key way of saving money.

Now the battle to try and save the bus routes – many of which are vital lifelines to elderly and disabled folk and isolated Over Wyre villagers - has now begun.

In total, County Hall is considering axing more than 140 individual bus services across the county, as part of its desperate efforts to save a massive £315m by April 2018, due to savage central government cuts.

County Coun Paul Hayhurst is leading the calls for people power to help stop transport bosses making the proposed cuts.

He said: “I represent several villages that heavily rely on subsidised bus services.

“If they were to be taken away, then it would decimate these villages.

“They aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

“When people are left lonely and isolated, Social Services will have to step in and there will be costs incurred elsewhere.

“These services are a vital lifeline for our villages and town centres.”

Angela Patchett, a former Wyre councillor and a member of Fleetwood Women’s Institute, is also opposed to the proposals.

She said: “I am most concerned about the Over Wyre residents who hardly have adequate services already, and the Fleetwood residents who travel regularly on the 74 bus which is a direct link to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“That bus also serves the estates along the way and is filled with disabled and vulnerable pensioners.

“I suggest Lancashire County Council saves thousands of pounds by the non-issue of bus tickets to pensioner or pas holders, like in Greater Manchester.

“More cuts are an absolute disgrace.”

And Angeline Wells, a support worker who is a member of the Ormerod Ramblers group, based at St Paul’s Church in Fleetwood, agreed with Coun Hayhurst that cutting money from the buses could see more expenditure needed elsewhere.

She said: “As a group we rely on some of the buses under threat and plenty of vulnerable individuals do too.

“These cutbacks will lead to an increase in social isolation and affect the independence of people will learning difficulties, the disabled and the elderly.”

The proposed cuts bus service funding cuts in Wyre include:

*74 (Fleetwood-Cleveleys-Poulton-Blackpool, daily daytime);

*16 (Poulton-Norcross - Bispham, Monday to Saturday daytime)

*84A (Fleetwood-Cleveleys-Poulton-Blackpool, Monday to Saturday, evenings and Sundays);

*87 (Cleveleys-Thornton-Carleton-Poulton, Monday to Saturday daytime)

*86, 89, 89H The Wyre Villager - Fleetwood-Knott End-Lancaster, daytime & evenings

*75 The Fylde Villager-Fleetwood-Kirkham-Preston, daily daytime.

Commerciasl routes like Blackpool Transport’s nos 14, 9 and 1 will be un-affected.

County Hall insists that entire bus services are unlikely to be lost altogether, but parts of them (buses at certain days and certain times) are likely to be lost.