Youth council protest against bus axe plans

Garstang’s young people are calling on transport bosses to ‘save their buses’ as part of the campaign against proposed cuts to bus travel.

Saturday, 25th January 2014, 6:30 am
Members of Garstang Youth Council

Members of Garstang’s Youth Council have spoken out against Lancashire County Council’s plans to cut a number of evening and Sunday services on main routes to Preston, Blackpool and Lancaster.

Dozens of local students are reliant on the buses for daily commutes to colleges, work, leisure and social activities.

The panel highlighted their concerns at their January meeting last Thursday and agreed to make their views known ahead of the county council consultation deadline on January 17.

A letter written by 11-year-old youth member Oliver Atkinson was sent to County Hall in Preston.

The Garstang Community Academy pupil said the reduction of evening and Sunday services would have a severe impact on the students across the district.

His letter read: “Many students in Garstang attend colleges in Lancaster, Blackpool and Preston.

“The cuts to the bus schedule would cause serious issues for returning times, especially those who have jobs or attend after school activities.”

He asked the council to consider the importance of public transport for the rural area and expressed fears for the isolated members of the community.

The county council is looking to plug a £3.8m funding gap and has been consulting people on proposals to reduce a number of bus services, including the Number 42 to Lancaster and 40 from Morecambe to Preston via Garstang.

Town and County Coun for Garstang, Sandra Perkins, commended the efforts of the youth panel in getting involved with the consultation.

She said: “It is marvellous the work they are doing for the benefit of the town.”

Garstang Town Council, who met last night, had been unable to discuss the matter and mount a response before the consultation cut-off.

Town Coun Lynn Harter, co-ordinator for the youth council said: “The young people have really taken the initiative with this.

“The Town Council were unable to get the matter discussed before the deadline but the youth council were determined to raise the concerns on behalf of the town and have their say.”

A final decision on the cuts is expected to be made at LCC’s Full Council meeting in Preston on February 20.