16 Feb 2016
Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire has confirmed changes to its Fleetwood operations following widespread funding cuts to council supported bus services.
Stagecoach, which currently runs the 68 service in the daytime, has now committed to independently operate additional Monday to Saturday evening services from April 3rd. These services were formerly funded by Lancashire County Council and not operated by Stagecoach.
Customers on the route can now purchase unlimited, anytime travel, dayrider and weekly megarider tickets, reducing the cost of travel for those who have previously needed to buy separate day and evening tickets.
The 68 Preston to Blackpool service will be run to a new timetable from April 3rd. The route in Blackpool town centre will be changed to drive back to Preston along the Promenade from Market Street to Manchester Square and not via Adelaide Street West and Central Drive.
The company will also continue to run the 61 service from Blackpool to Preston. There will be an updated timetable for service 61 including a number of additional journeys between Preston and Wrea Green (and vice versa). Passengers can pick up a new timetable at Preston Bus Station.
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said:“Local communities are really starting to feel the impact of the squeeze on public sector services, and subsidised bus services in Lancashire have really been in the firing line, with significant cuts to funding.
“These funding cuts to locally supported bus services are going to cause real disruption to people across the region, so we’re pleased to be able to be minimising the effect on people by running additional evening services and reducing the cost of anytime travel on the 68 route between Blackpool and Preston.”
While the majority of bus services in Lancashire are provided commercially by bus operators like Stagecoach, a number of supported routes, particularly those operating in rural areas or on evenings and weekends that previously received financial support in order to run, are being pulled, due to lack of funding.
Services which Stagecoach previously covered that the company will no longer be operating due to the Lancashire County Council funding cuts include the 74 Service from Blackpool to Larkholme, the 84 Service from Poulton to Fleetwood, and the 86, 89, and 89H service from Fleetwood, Knott End, and Lancaster.
Stagecoach will also be closing its depot in Fleetwood on April 3rd, in line with the removal of Lancashire County Council funding. All 34 employees who work at the Fleetwood depot have been offered employment at other Stagecoach bus depots.
“We have tried to minimise the effects of funding cuts on our passengers and local community as much as possible but the lack of funding means that unfortunately some previously funded services will no longer operate. This means we have needed to make some changes to ensure we can continue to provide our passengers with a comprehensive and reliable bus network.
“Due to the impact of the cuts on the number of routes we run from our Fleetwood depot, we have made the difficult decision to close the depot as we no longer require the a full team to service the reduced routes. Our employees are of the utmost importance to us and every member of staff from the depot has been offered an equivalent position at another Stagecoach site,” Elisabeth added.
All route and timetable changes will come into effect from April 3rd.