Improved bus routes on their way

New buses will help transform travel in many rural areas
New buses will help transform travel in many rural areas

New bus routes starting in Lancashire next week will see public transport restored to a number of villages, and more frequent services across Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

The improvements are coming in from Monday after Lancashire County Council's new administration agreed to make an extra £1m available to support bus services, increasing the budget from £2m to £3m.

Key priorities have been to restore lost links between communities, particularly in rural areas where people who don't drive or own a car rely most on public transport, increase the frequency of services on routes where there is more demand, and stabilise the network to support routes which might otherwise disappear.

Improvements to services due to start from Monday include a new network of Pendleside Link services to restore rural village links and increase the number of buses across the Ribble Valley, Burnley and Pendle. These services will be operated by Boomerang Travel.

County Coun. Andrew Snowden, lead member for highways and transport, said: "These new buses will transform travel in many rural areas of Lancashire by restoring public transport to villages which currently have none, and making it far more convenient to use the bus in other places where there are currently only a handful of services each day.

"Good public transport supports our economy by making sure that everyone has the opportunity to access work and education. It is also vital for people to carry out everyday tasks such as doing their shopping, visiting family and friends, and getting to health appointments.

"We've worked hard to make sure these proposals make the most impact with the resources available and already know from feedback we've received that many people are looking forward to having a decent bus service again.

"A lot of improvements are starting next week but we're also continuing discussions with bus operators in some areas of the county where we think the best option is to enhance an existing commercial service to better serve communities."

The Pendleside Link Service 64 bus serving the village of Sabden in the Ribble Valley is also being improved, with an extra journey early in the morning and in the evening to help people get to work and access education. The bus will also link right through to Burnley, meaning passengers will no longer have to change at Padiham.

Gwenda McCullough, from Sabden, said: "I have to travel to Burnley several times a week, and a direct bus service will be a massive help to me. It will mean I can get to uni without having to get different buses. Not only will it be much more convenient, it will also save me money as I won't need to buy more than one ticket at a time."

A full list of the improvements can be found here www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/public-transport/bus-service-changes/improvements-to-local-bus-services.aspx.