I’m delighted to announce that following a meeting with Jane Cole, the Managing Director of Blackpool Transport, the Sunday 2C bus service will be reinstated next spring.
Blackpool Transport withdrew its Sunday service back in April 2016 after Lancashire County Council withdrew subsidy for the 2C. Huge budget cuts imposed by the Conservative Government led to almost 80% of grants to local councils being slashed. The council made the decision to end subsidies paid to private companies which ran bus services which would not otherwise be commercially viable. A devastating blow that obviously and overwhelmingly effected rural communities where populations are smaller and more spread out.
Catch22bus then stepped in, however earlier this year they too announced they would be withdrawing the Sunday service.
I have continued to lobby both the Government and local councils arguing that the withdrawal of public transport in rural areas makes it difficult and in some cases impossible to access education, employment or health services. It also adds to the feelings of isolation and loneliness of many members in our community – in particular the elderly, many of whom don’t have their own transport. This is the perverse impact of the Government’s austerity agenda. Their cuts to vital community services may lead to short-term budget savings, but the long term cost to our community leads to worsening health outcomes, jobs lost, and education interrupted or simply not accessible. The economic impact on rural communities is enormous when talented and skilled individuals feel they have no choice but to move to urban areas where public transport and services are easier to access. I feel strongly that if services aren’t in place to support young people who can’t afford driving lessons, cars and property, these youngsters will too look to move away from their rural communities. Without them rural living will not prosper, our green spaces will be lost to housing development and our agricultural industry will start to suffer.
I am hugely grateful to Jane Cole from Blackpool Transport for working with me to find a solution – whenever I am out and about talking to residents in Knott End and Preesall, the biggest issues that are raised with me are the lack of public transport, potholes and gas storage. I’m still working on potholes and stopping the industrialisation of our countryside – I’ll come back to you on these problems!
In respect of the Sunday bus service, Jane has confirmed she’ll buy a new single decker bus to reduce the operational costs of running a double decker and at the moment the plan is to travel from Knott End through Hambleton and over to Poulton and on to Blackpool Hospital. Jane will announce the timetable nearer the time. The service will probably start in May. But here’s the thing – if we want to keep this service, we need to use it. Please consider ditching the car from time to time and taking the stress free approach to getting from A to B. A member of my team who has two pre-school children took the (very excited) kids for a trip on the bus last week to Poulton, getting off for a play at a playground and followed by a picnic before returning home (almost to her front door) and all for a ticket price of £2.70 plus whatever the cost was of making some butties. As the saying goes, ‘if we don’t use it, we lose it’ so please please make the most of this valuable resource.
See my video message here:
You told me you wanted Sunday buses back in Knott End, so after meeting with Blackpool Transport I’m delighted to have successfully made the argument for the reinstatement of the 2C bus service to Knott End. But we have to use the service or we will lose it, after deep government cuts we have seen reductions in subsidies for bus services. This means use it or sadly we would lose it (again).
Posted by Cat Smith MP on Friday, June 29, 2018