Worsthorne fury over scrapping of lifeline bus service

PICTURESQUE: The village of Worsthorne ccc
PICTURESQUE: The village of Worsthorne ccc

Widespread anger has boiled over in Worsthorne following news that a “lifeline” bus service is to be scrapped.

Bus company Transdev Burnley and Pendle says its number 2 service to Worsthorne is no longer profitable and that it will end on July 22nd.

But the move has caused anger among residents, many of them elderly, who rely on the service to travel into Burnley daily for shopping and appointments.

A packed public meeting held at Worsthorne Social Club included Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle who said he had written to Transdev asking that it reconsider the decision and that he was hoping to have a meeting soon.

One pensioner who relies on the service, Mrs Pauline Frost, described the decision as “outrageous”.

She said: “I use the bus service every day. It is a real lifeline for me because I don’t drive.

“I go into Burnley for shopping and doctor’s appointments. It is an outrageous decision by Transdev to remove this service. What is worse is that there has been no consultation.

“We only found out by accident when someone spotted a leaflet at Burnley Bus Station. Even a compromise of fewer buses would be better than removing them entirely during the day.”

Mrs Sarah Sawley (63) who lives in Old Hall Square said she and her husband Ralph use the service for regular trips to Burnley General Hospital.

She added: “My husband has had four hip replacements and other health problems so we have to visit the hospital regularly.

“I use the bus every day as well to visit my grand-daughters and the doctor’s. I see a lot of elderly people using that bus and I worry that they won’t get out once the service is stopped. I just hope something can be done.”

The headteacher of Worsthorne Primary School, Mrs Louise Young, has also added her concern.

Mrs Young said: “Not all our pupils live in the village, quite a few travel from outside, and not all of them have cars.

“I think this is a really important issue and I’m concerned it will affect a lot of our families. A bus service here is vital.”

A spokesman for Transdev said: “It was a difficult decision to withdraw our buses from the village as we don’t welcome contraction of our business.

“Regrettably, however, the number of passengers using the route has been insufficient to cover the ever increasing cost of operation.

“In such circumstances a responsibility passes to the local authority to investigate what, if anything, may be done to provide a replacement facility.

“That process of discussion is now underway.”

Lancashire County Council confirmed it had been in contact with Transdev and is now investigating other alternatives.

Tim Gornall, the county council’s bus and supported transport manager, said: “We have been informed by Transdev Burnley and Pendle that they are to make changes to the number 2 route, which means buses will no longer run to Worsthorne during the daytime between Mondays and Saturdays.

“We are preparing a report for the cabinet member for highways and transport, which will detail how much it would cost the county council to subsidise this service.

“The evening and Sunday service between Burnley and Worsthorne, which is subsidised by the county council, won’t be affected.”