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Orbit 88 bus service may be axed as Preston Bus reviews routes

Posted on - 7th February, 2016 - 9:23pm | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Business, Fulwood, Greyfriars, Ingol, Larches, Preston News, Ribbleton, Roads, Sharoe Green, Tanterton, Transport
Waiting for the Orbit service at Preston Bus Station Pic: George D Thompson

Waiting for the Orbit service at Preston Bus Station Pic: George D Thompson

Communities in the North West and North East of Preston may be losing what they say is a ‘vital’ bus service.

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Preston Bus is reviewing all of its services in light of cutbacks in subsidies from Lancashire County Council but even changes to services without a subsidy, such as the 88 – the Orbit – are not off the table.

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Larches councillor Mark Yates says he has been inundated with questions from residents since Friday.

He said drivers had been telling passengers the service, which runs in a loop from the Bus Station around Ingol, Fulwood and Ribbleton, may be withdrawn.

John Asquith, operations manager for Rotala, the parent company of Preston Bus, said some changes were coming.

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He said in an email to Cllr Yates: “As you maybe aware, we are currently carrying out a full review of our commercial and subsidised bus network. As such, there are a number of changes planned to most Preston Bus routes, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“It is inevitable that the future of the Orbit service is in doubt with the recent decision of the ‘Cabinet’ and the lack of any control by Lancashire County Council of the highway network and total lack of understanding regarding the Bus Station and its functionality.”

The county council is currently consulting on where it will remove more than £7m annually that it spends on keeping hundreds of bus services running across Lancashire.

Cllr Yates said the 88A and 88C services were not subsidised and accused Preston Bus of ‘hiding behind the subsidy issue’.

He said: “The 88 service is a vital link to the residents of Larches and indeed other areas of the City if this service is withdrawn many people have told me how they use it for appointments at Royal Preston Hospital and this only add to the parking problems.

“There is also one lady who told me she has as regular appointments at RPH. She will have to set out at 7am to get to the hospital.

“I understand that many users of the Space Centre also I rely on this service, along with schools any many businesses.

“I think Preston Bus need to very carefully consider all representations made to them before making any final decision and not play games and try to hide behind the county council subsidy issue when this service is not subsidised by county council and the residents of Larches and Preston deserve better.”

Related: Longton bus service saved thanks to Preston Bus deal

A spokesman for Preston Bus declined to confirm if the service was to be axed but said: “If any changes are planned, complete information will be released well in advance, providing information relating to the whole network. It is not helpful for passengers to be subject to rumour and heresay.”

Do you use the Orbit service? What do you think of Preston Bus reviewing its services? Let us know your views in the comments below

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