‘Lifeline’ bus services are saved

Residents at Crow Wood Court in Burnley and Coun. Gordon Birtwistle celebrate after lifeline bus services were saved (s)
Residents at Crow Wood Court in Burnley and Coun. Gordon Birtwistle celebrate after lifeline bus services were saved (s)
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“Lifeline” bus services in Burnley which were threatened with the axe have been saved, much to the delight of residents and community leaders.

The Burnley Express revealed at the beginning of the year how several routes, mainly used by elderly and disabled passengers, were under threat after Lancashire County Council said it could no longer subsidise the services as the authority bids to save £65m. over the next two years.

But, following a meeting at County Hall this week, the number 65 bus, which runs to the Clifton Farm area of Burnley, the number 95, which serves a route between Burnley and Colne, the number 1, which goes to Worsthorne, and the 1B and 1C, which serve Stoops Estate, were given a reprieve.

Also saved from the axe were the number 2 Burnley to Higherford service, 4/5 Harle Syke to Rosegrove bus, the 23 Burnley to Accrington and 26/27 Burnley to Clitheroe route.

The town’s MP Julie Cooper said she was relieved at the decisions while Liberal Democrat Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, who helped collect thousands of signatures on a petition, said he was “absolutely delighted.”

Mrs Cooper said: “Burnley residents have suffered months of uncertainty and anxiety as a result of the threatened withdrawal of several subsidised, yet essential, bus services across Burnley.

“My office has been inundated by constituents asking for our help to save buses which they rely on so heavily, particularly the elderly, the disabled and those in more remote areas.

“Residents we talked to understand the financial pressures faced by the county council following huge cuts in funding as part of the Government’s austerity measures. Most seem willing to accept that a reduction in frequency of services may be the outcome, however they were desperate that a service of some kind should continue on all routes. I am informed that no services will be lost completely in Burnley as was at one time feared and it is likely that several routes including the popular 65 and 95 services will run on an hourly rather than half hourly basis, with the new timetables ensuring that the buses run at peak times when people need them the most.”

Mr Birtwistle said: “We ran a petition and our hard work has paid off. For the elderly residents in Crow Wood Court, it ensures they are not marooned in their old folks home or their houses and they won’t have to pay to get a taxi into town to do their shopping.

Details of changed routes and timings can be found on the Lancashire County Council website.