More funds to boost bus services in West Lancs

More funds to boost bus services in West Lancs

by Tom Martin (March 2021)

Bus users in West Lancashire can look forward to better services from May thanks to new investment from Lancashire County Council to make sure more people have a service they can rely on for regular journeys.

The county council has boosted its budget for buses by a further £750,000 for the coming year to fund improved links in West Lancs, Preston, South Ribble, and Chorley, particularly in rural areas, and increase frequency of services where there is strong demand.

The council is also using funding secured through the planning process to ensure the residents of major new housing developments have good access to public transport. 

The council has been working with local operators on a number of improvements to services due to be introduced at the start of May.

These include more frequent services between Preston, Gregson Lane, Bamber Bridge and Leyland, and improved journey times between Preston and Wigan, which will particularly benefit communities between Leyland and Wigan.

These routes will also see the introduction of newer, more modern, cleaner buses with improved customer features such as contactless payments and WiFi – these improvements are either already in place or due to appear in the near future.

While the current advice is to only use buses where necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, they still play a vital part in keeping people connected, and a better bus network will allow people to access opportunities and help the local economy to recover as restrictions are eased over the coming weeks and months.

County Councillor Andrew Snowden, lead member for buses, said: "Improving public transport has been one of our top priorities as we recognise that good bus services are vital for people to get to work, access education and other services, and are a lifeline for people in rural areas.

"We've already restored lost links to many communities which would otherwise have very little or no public transport, and we're now building on this by making existing services more frequent, reliable and convenient to use.

"Working closely with operators to introduce these improvements also means that passengers will benefit from their investment in the vehicle fleet.

"All of this helps to make routes more sustainable by ensuring people see their local bus as a good choice which they can depend on to travel in comfort.

"While there are still restrictions on using public transport at the moment, these improvements meet a number of requests from communities for better connections and will help to support our economy as Lancashire recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic."

A number of improvements will begin from Sunday 2 May:

Service 111 Preston – Lostock Hall – Leyland – Eccleston – Standish – Wigan
The county council, in partnership with Stagecoach, will revise the route and timetable, extending the service through from Leyland to Wigan replacing Service 113 over this section.

The Monday to Saturday daytime service will operate as normal between Preston and Leyland Moss Side, then extend hourly from Leyland through to Wigan via Eccleston, Heskin, Wrightington Bar, Shevington Moor and Standish.

This more direct service between Preston, Leyland and Wigan will significantly improve journey times for those passengers travelling over the longer distances.

The section between Shevington Moor, Standish and Wigan will be revised to operate via Rectory Lane and Chorley Road and continue to be operated in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester.

Service 113 Preston – Bamber Bridge – Leyland – Eccleston – Wigan

The county council will withdraw this service and it will be replaced by the extension to Service 111 between Leyland and Wigan, in partnership with Stagecoach, and by the new improved Service 153 between Preston and Leyland.

Service 153 Preston – Gregson Lane – Bamber Bridge – Tardy Gate – Leyland

The county council will introduce this new service replacing the withdrawn Service 113 between Preston and Leyland.

This new service will operate between Preston and Leyland via Higher Walton, Gregson Lane, Bamber Bridge, Tardy Gate, Lancashire Enterprise Park, Leyland Broadfield and Earnshaw Bridge.

With funding support through the planning system due to the new housing development on Brindle Road, along with further investment from the county council, the Monday to Saturday daytime service frequency will be improved from hourly to every 30 minutes across the whole route, along with some extra journeys in the early evening.

A new hourly Sunday service between Preston and Bamber Bridge will also be introduced.

Transdev Rosso will operate this service on behalf of the county council. In conjunction with Transdev's commercial Hotline Service 152, the service frequency between Preston and Higher Walton will be improved further, offering a better

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