Bus operator Stagecoach has stepped in to guarantee yet more Lancashire bus services threatened by the withdrawal of County Hall subsidies.
The company has committed to continue operating two routes between Preston and Ormskirk which had previously looked doomed in the fall-out from county council cutbacks.
The announcement brings to six the number of routes now saved after Stagecoach agreed to fund them independently. But a further 10 - all evening services - will go as the county undergoes one of the biggest shakeups in public transport since Dr Beeching decimated the railways in the sixties.
“Local communities are 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,” said Elisabeth Tasker M-D of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire. “This has unfortunately meant that a number of routes across Lancashire will be altered or will no longer be operational.
“We’ve tried to minimise the effect 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.
“As a result, we have needed to make some changes to ensure we can continue to provide our passengers with a comprehensive and reliable bus network.”
The 2 and 2A services between Preston and Ormskirk join the 68 Preston to Blackpool, the 109A to Chorley, a new-look 4C to Longridge and the 113 to Wigan announced as safe by Stagecoach.
But the evening services 5A, 7B, 14, 113, 12A, 114, 115, 150/151 and 4C will all end on April 3.