CHORLEY Council is again stepping in to help save vital bus services that were due to be axed.
The council has been in top level talks with bus service operator Stagecoach and Lancashire County Council to keep more buses running in the borough, less than 12 months after stepping in to save three other major bus routes.
Last year, the council agreed to fund services operating between Chorley and Blackburn; Chorley and Chorley Hospital via Astley Village, and Chorley and Coppull after Lancashire County Council withdrew subsidies as it seeks to save over £64 million from its budget this next year.
Following the public outcry last month when Stagecoach announced it intended to axe the 7 service through Chorley, Charnock Richard and Croston from Sunday 5 February, Chorley Council has been working to find a solution.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, said: “We’ve been meeting with Stagecoach and Lancashire County Council to see what could be done to keep the service going in the short term to give us time to discuss things further and find a longer term solution.
“Those talks have resulted LCC and Stagecoach making revisions to their existing services to mitigate some of the impact of the withdrawal of the number 7 service, and we’re going to fund a temporary service for one section of the route and look at what could be done to help residents on other sections of the route.
“We’ve been put in this position because of central government cuts impacting on not only ourselves, but the county council too, so they’re having to make huge savings. They are putting councils in an untenable position which is having a major impact on services for residents and in this case potentially leaving residents isolated.”
Councillor Bev Murray, executive member and ward councillor for Chorley South East one of the areas affected, said: “The part of the service being funded by the council is a ‘quick fix’ so the service didn’t end on Sunday and is only temporary. But it will give us the chance to have further discussions about the way forward and how the situation can be improved borough-wide.”
Stagecoach has enhanced its 8/8A service to cover Adlington and Limbrick and the Lancashire County Council 347 service has been revised to take in Charnock Richard, Heskin and Eccleston. The Chorley Council funded 7C service will run from Chorley Interchange to the Carr Lane/A6 junction via Pall Mall, Harrison Road, Pilling Lane, Kirstall Road and Melrose Way.