School bus services axed in county council cutbacks

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Labour activists have launched a campaign highlighting bus cuts they say threaten to disrupt young people’s return to school.

Lancashire County Council has cut £829,000 from this year’s transport budget with more than 330,000 bus journeys a year axed across Lancashire. So far 16 local and school bus routes have been scrapped, in addition to fare increases on many routes.

Some pupils have been left without buses in Nelson and Burnley, as the 978 and 897 Sir John Thursby services are cut.

Lian Pate, Burnley Labour’s youth spokesman who lives in Glen View Road, Burnley, said her son Robert (16) had been affected. He used the 897 bus service – that ran from Glen View Road to Sir John Thursby Community College, Burnley. Lancashire County Council closed the route in June.

Lian said: “Robert has used this bus service for the last five years and, without it, it would have taken him well over an hour to walk each way.

“We’re really proud of how well he did with his GCSEs but it just seems such a shame other parents’ children are going to be hit by this cut.

“And for Robert now there’s just no easy way for him to get to his new college. It’s going to take him well over an hour again to walk there.

“It’s vital not just for young people but the whole community we develop sustainable bus routes in Lancashire rather than cutting too far and too fast.”

County Coun. Jennifer Mein, Lancashire County Council Labour Group leader, said: “The Tory-led government is cutting local transport funding too far and too fast and this is now having a real impact on bus services in Lancashire.

“In the budget proposals there were more than 330,000 journeys a year to be taken off the bus network and we are now beginning to see the impact. There are still more cuts to come and it’s a disgrace our young people are bearing the brunt.”