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Calls for new publicly-owned Preston bus company to restore routes

Posted on - 3rd December, 2018 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Brookfield, Fulwood, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Ribbleton, Sharoe Green
The number 14 service is one that could disappear Pic: Ian Robinson
The number 14 service now runs to a shortened route Pic: Ian Robinson

One of the city’s youngest councillor wants to see a publicly-funded bus company set up to save a Fulwood bus route.

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College councillor Freddie Bailey, who was elected in May for Labour aged just 22, is holding a public meeting about the issue.

Preston Bus announced in August that from early September the Number 14 bus would have its route scaled back.

Cllr Bailey says this has left part of the city without any access to public transport.

He said: “It [the decision] has left non-drivers, young people, the elderly and disabled residents in the Longsands and Brookfield areas isolated and unable to get around our city.”

More than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for the route to be re-instated to its full length.

Preston Bus said declining passenger numbers for the route, which now terminates at Holme Slack, meant the Ronaldsway to Longsands extension no longer made financial sense.

County council helping hand?

Cllr Bailey says they want Conservative-led Lancashire County Council to step in and subsidise the route.

Talks between the county council and Preston Bus were understood to have been held but they could not reach an agreement.

Cllr Bailey said: “Conservative-led Lancashire County Council have so far refused to subsidise the No. 14 Bus despite our concerns. Labour Councillors in Fulwood have been clear from the very start that Lancashire County Council should subsidise the No. 14 Bus and ring-fence this funding so that it cannot be withdrawn in the future.

“This would ensure that residents have a regular bus service connecting them to the city centre, the hospital and other public services and amenities.”

Leader of the county council, Conservative leader and Preston North county councillor Geoff Driver, is due to attend the public meeting on Monday (3 December) about the issue.

Read more: See the latest politics news for Preston

A new bus company for the city?

At the meeting Cllr Bailey says he will outline how a long-term solution to create a city council backed Preston Bus Company be set up.

It would subsidise non-profit making routes such as the Number 14 route using a surplus from more popular routes.

Cllr Bailey said: “This would give the people of Preston a say on their priorities for public transport rather than leaving it to the goodwill of a privately-owned company based in the West Midlands.”

The meeting about the Number 14 takes place at Millennium Hall in Fulwood from 7pm.

Read more: Major Preston Bus and Stagecoach timetable changes

What do you think of the bus company idea? Have you been affected by the Number 14 route cut? Let us know your views in the comments below

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