Could bus station electronic timetables be saved?

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BUS users are campaigning to keep electronic timetable displays at Burnley Bus Station.

Cash for the illuminated displays was axed by county councillors in its budget cuts, but objectors say the boards are invaluable to passengers, particularly the elderly, as they give clear information about departure times and stands from where buses leave.

Burnley Bus Station is owned and run by Burnley Council and, until now, Lancashire County Council has supplied and paid for the displays which are also being axed at Nelson, Chorley, Lancaster and Skelmersdale.

All the signs were due to be turned off on December 1st, but Burnley Council has managed to keep them on while in talks with the operator to keep the system going.

County councillors opted not to renew the maintenance contract and say it will save £47,000 from a £132,000 information budget that also covers printed timetables and telephone lines .

County Coun. Malcolm Barron, lead member for bus services, said passengers had other ways of getting information, such as over the internet and on posters.

“We’re also encouraging people to use new technology, such as through their smart phones, to give them the information they need,” he said.

John Moorhouse, of the independent community interest company TravelWatch NorthWest, said the decision to axe the information boards was unwise. “We are imploring the County Council to reconsider,” he said. “The electronically displayed information provides a very useful service and we deplore the removal of an excellent passenger facility.”

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: “Members (of the council’s environment and housing scrutiny committee) felt the removal of this service was a retrograde step and asked that the Director of Environment (David Brown) write to LCC on behalf of the committee expressing its concerns over the lack of consultation on this matter at the appropriate time when other options could have been looked at.”

Council officers are in negotiations with Transdev about the information boards.

He added: “Transdev, as a major local bus operator, is currently looking into alternative provision. If an alternative is found the council will look to actively work with Transdev to implement this but that will inevitably relate to cost involved and the ability to use existing equipment.”