Major improvements to the network of buses supported by Lancashire County Council are to be considered by the council's Conservative cabinet next week.
The council has already committed to make an extra £1m available to bus services, increasing the budget from £2m to £3m.
A report to the cabinet meeting on Thursday 14 September recommends boosting the council's support for buses, with proposals for a number of new routes and changes to improve existing tendered bus services.
The aim is to restore lost links between communities, particularly in rural areas where people who do not drive or own a car rely most on public transport, increase the frequency of services on routes with greater demand, and stabilise the network by supporting routes which might otherwise disappear.
Conservative County Councillor Andrew Snowden (Hoghton with Wheelton Division), lead member for highways and transport, said: "A good public transport network is vital to support our economy, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access work and education. It also plays a vital role in helping people to carry out everyday tasks such as doing their shopping, visiting family and friends, and getting to health appointments.
"To develop these routes I have invited all county councillors to offer their input on behalf of the communities they represent and raise any issues which they are aware of, and we've worked hard to make sure these proposals make the most impact with the resources available.
"This extra funding will make a significant difference by supporting and supplementing the commercial network to link communities which might otherwise have no or very little public transport, and help to ensure transport connections across Lancashire are as effective as possible.
"We are also proposing to hold discussions with bus operators about how we could improve services in some areas where we think the best option is to enhance an existing commercial service to better serve communities."
If agreed, detailed timetables will be developed, and all county council-supported bus services put out for competitive tender, with the revised services proposed to start from 10 December.
There is proposed to be no change, or only minor adjustments to timetables, for 15 existing county council tendered bus services. The routes proposed to be improved are as follows:
Services in East Lancashire – Burnley, Rossendale, Pendle and Ribble Valley
• Service 2 Clitheroe – Low Moor Circular. In order to serve the wider Peel Park area, the current Service 2 will be revised to run only between Clitheroe and Henthorn/Low Moor. Peel Park will be better served by the new Service 4.
• Service 3 Clitheroe – Sawley Circular. The new Service 3 will maintain the link between Clitheroe and Sawley, additionally serving Pimlico Road, which is currently not served.
• Service 4 Clitheroe – Peel Park Circular. The new Service 4 will provide a more comprehensive service for Peel Park.
• Service 5 Clitheroe-Whalley-Longridge-Chipping. Service 5 will be revised to serve the new Barrow Brook development off the A59, and no longer serve Peel Park, which will be better served by the new Service 4.
• Service 25/25A Clitheroe – Whalley – Brockhall – Mellor – Blackburn. The new Service 25 will restore the link between Mellor, Brockhall and Clitheroe every 2 hours. Combined with Service 25A to Mellor Brook, the service between Mellor and Blackburn will continue to run hourly. This will replace the existing Service 15 Blackburn – Mellor – Mellor Brook/Brockhall.
• Service 35 Longridge – Ribchester – Blackburn. The new hourly service will better link Longridge with Blackburn providing greater opportunities for people to use public transport throughout the route.
• Service 14 Burnley – Clifton Farm Circular. In order to serve the wider area around Sycamore Avenue, the current Service 14 will be revised to run only between Burnley and Clifton Farm. Sycamore Avenue will be better served by the new Services 64/65.
• Service 15/15A Burnley – Rose Hill Circular. The new Service 15A will combine with Service 15 to improve services for the Moorland Road area of Rose Hill, with the general frequency increased from hourly to half-hourly. Glen View Road and Rosehill Road will be served hourly.
• Service 64 Burnley – Rosegrove – Padiham – Sabden – Whalley – Clitheroe.
• Service 65 Burnley – Rosegrove – Padiham – Fence – Barrowford – Nelson.
• Service 66 Clitheroe – Waddington – West Bradford – Grindleton – Chatburn – Barley – Fence – Lomeshaye – Nelson.
• Service 67 Clitheroe – Waddington – West Bradford – Grindleton – Chatburn – Barley – Blacko – Barrowford – Nelson.
This new network of Pendleside bus Services 64/65/66/67 will restore rural village links and improve frequencies across the Ribble Valley, Burnley and Pendle. They will replace the existing Service 7, which serves villages between Clitheroe and Nelson, and Service 8 Nelson – Carr Hall circular. A number of benefits include:
Improved service for Sabden, restoring the direct link to Burnley.
Improved frequency between Clitheroe, Barley and Nelson, whilst restoring services for Newchurch and Spenbrook.
Improved frequency between Fence and Nelson.
New route serving Burnley Sycamore Avenue linking through to the Health Centre at Rosegrove.
• Service 95/95A Colne – Birtwistle Ave – Marsden Park – Nelson – Hospital – Burnley. New Service 95A will combine with Service 95 to improve services between Colne and Nelson, with the general frequency increased from hourly to half-hourly. It restores services through Brierfield, including Halifax Road, and Alkincoates with improved hourly frequencies. This will replace the existing Service 9 Nelson – Brierfield Circular.
• Improved service from Earby – Skipton. The county council will work with bus operators to utilise the funding available to try to develop a sustainable option to restore a daytime service link between Earby and Skipton.
Services in Central Lancashire, North Lancashire, and Fylde Coast – West Lancashire, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Preston, South Ribble, Wyre
• Service 29 Preston – Frenchwood Circular. The new Service 29 will maintain the hourly link between Frenchwood and Preston, to allow improvements to Service 112.
• Service 75 Fleetwood – Cleveleys – Thornton – Poulton – Kirkham – Preston. Revised route and timetable between Thornton and Fleetwood to additionally serve Cleveleys and Pheasants Wood. New hourly service will better link Fleetwood and Thornton-Cleveleys with Kirkham and Preston providing greater opportunities for people to use public transport throughout the route.
• Service 76 Lytham – Wrea Green – Kirkham – Elswick – Great Eccleston – Poulton – Blackpool.
• Service 77 Preston – Inskip – Elswick – Great Eccleston – Poulton – Blackpool.
• Service 77A Preston – Inskip – Elswick – Great Eccleston – Myerscough.
The Fylde Villager bus Services 76/77/77A will restore rural village links and improve frequencies, across Fylde, Wyre and Preston. This will replace the existing Service 80 Preston – Myerscough. A number of benefits include:
Improved service for Wrea Green, restoring the direct link to Lytham.
Improved frequency between Great Eccleston, Elswick, Inskip and Preston whilst restoring a service for Fulwood Hoyles Lane and Cadley Mill Lane.
Improved frequency linking through Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
• Service 112 Preston – Bamber Bridge – Clayton Brook – Clayton Green – Leyland. Service 112 extended through to Leyland via Walton Summit and Clayton Brook, offering better links for Bamber Bridge. To allow the Service 112 extension to Leyland, it will no longer serve Sainsburys, however alternative supermarkets are on the route. The general frequency of the service will be hourly, and when combined with Service 114, provides improved services every 30 minutes between Clayton Brook and Leyland.
• Service 114 Chorley – Clayton Brook – Clayton Green – Leyland – Farington Moss – Penwortham – Preston. Service 114 will be extended through to Preston from Leyland via Moss Side, Midge Hall, Farington Moss (Croston Road), Whitestake and Penwortham (to reinstate previously withdrawn commercial Service 115 and incorporate Service 13, which served Penwortham Manor Lane to Preston). This will restore public transport across a wide area of South Ribble linking to Preston and Chorley, including Chorley Hospital and the Industrial Estate at Moss Side to help people access health services and get to work. This will replace the existing Service 13 Preston – Penwortham.
• Service 337 Chorley – Charnock Richard – Eccleston – Croston – Mawdesley – Parbold – Burscough – Ormskirk.
• Service 347 Chorley – Charnock Richard – Eccleston – Croston – Mawdesley – Rufford – Southport.
Bus Services 337/347 will restore rural village links and improve frequencies across Chorley and West Lancashire to Southport and Ormskirk. A number of benefits include:
Improved service for Croston and Eccleston, restoring the direct link to Chorley.
Improved frequency between Mawdesley, Croston, Eccleston and Chorley.
Service 337 will additionally serve Burscough Industrial Estate, providing public transport access to this employment area.
• Service 315 Ormskirk – Haskayne – Halsall – Shirdley Hill – Southport. The county council will work with bus operators to utilise the funding available to try to develop a sustainable option to restore a daytime service link between Ormskirk, Haskayne, Halsall, Shirdley Hill & Southport.
• Service 81 Lancaster – Hornby – Kirby Lonsdale and Service 89 Lancaster – Glasson Dock – Pilling – Knott End. The county council will work with bus operators to utilise the funding available to try to develop a sustainable option to restore a daytime service link for Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington and the Lune Valley as a whole.
Source - based on Lancashire County Council press release