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‘People are losing faith’ reaction from Prestonians to Preston Bus evening changes

Posted on - 22nd April, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fulwood, Larches, Preston News, Ribbleton, Transport
A Preston Bus service in Tithebarne Street Pic: Ian Simpson
A Preston Bus service in Tithebarne Street Pic: Ian Simpson

Preston Bus and its parent company Rotala are facing criticism over proposed evening timetable changes.

The 6,23,35 and 100 service are all facing earlier last bus times throughout the week and weekends under the shake-up.

A consultation launched by Rotala which included a ‘have your say’ section referenced an email address that was not working.

Read more: Corporation Street bus gate cameras appear – but not working yet

A spokesperson for Preston Bus confirmed the updated email address was customer.care@rotala.co.uk and it had been updated.

After our report about the proposed timetable changes dozens of comments were left on the Blog Preston website and on our social media posts.

Tom Quinn said: “The 100 service they are removing rarely actually have a bus on the route for those times so people have likely lost faith in using it. That and if it does turn up the driver will be running behind and skip parts of the route out.”

Andrew Bell said: “Most of these road damaging polluting double deckers are only running at 10 per cent occupancy rates. They need scrapping and replacing with smaller environmentally friendly vehicles.”

April Dwyer said: “Can I suggest. that the permission Rotala have to use our city’s name on their buses is removed? If they can’t provide our city with a decent service – they don’t deserve to use our name.”

Rachel Bryson said: “Perhaps if they ran a reliable service that actually went near my house I’d use it more. Services down Cadley Causeway have already been cut to the bone, we have to use either the 23 or 35 and then face a walk – dark, cold, rain – nah, rather get a taxi. The last time I waited for a bus after 10 pm on Corporation St, it didn’t arrive, so I waited 30 minutes in the dark and cold for the next one, only to be told by the bus driver that I was wrong about the bus times advertised on their timetables – then why advertise times that you don’t intend to send a service? Perhaps I’d use the bus more if it was a guaranteed, reliable service like a taxi is – I’d be willing to pay more for such a service.”

Karen King said: “How can they be losing money when it cost £2 to go 50 metres. There are plenty of people who would use the bus services if they were better. Since they’ve merged bus routes and made each bus journey longer, people are not getting the service they were used to when Preston Bus was owned by the drivers. I have never seen it as bad.

Poppy Annand said: “How are people that work late shifts at the hospital and Fulwood industrial estates supposed to get home when you remove the only public transport in that area? The 23 always consistently has people boarding it late at night.”

As well as criticism from Blog Preston readers and passengers, the bus firm is facing an attack from the Preston Labour administration in the Town Hall as well as concern from Preston Business Improvement District who are responsible for promoting city centre businesses.

Preston Labour deputy leader Martyn Rawlinson told Blog Preston: “The government are subsidising bus fares yet the bus companies are still cutting services and increasing fares. So nothing is working. Public transport is vital infrastructure that supports an equitable economy. Right now we’ve got the worst of all worlds; poor services, high prices and shareholders getting free public money; and the transport authority, LCC, are nowhere to be seen.”

Read more: Preston’s first motorway service station could be bigger than first planned

Preston BID’s Mark Whittle said: “A reliable and inclusive timetable is crucial for people using public transport. Although the data might suggest that the way people interact with public transport is changing, we’d have welcomed direct consultation with the business community, who are generally the attraction for transport users of an evening.”

Blog Preston contacted Preston’s MP Mark Hendrick for a comment – as he has been active on social media about buses – but received no response by the time of publication.

What Preston Bus say

A statement released accompanying the proposed evening timetable changes said the firm was making the changes due to losing £100,000-a-year across the routes.

A statement from Preston Bus said: “Preston Bus has been reviewing the patronage on a journey-by-journey basis across our network, we’ve identified several journeys with low levels of usage. Therefore, we are proposing to change the timetables so we can run a more efficient service for our customers.”

The bus firm also announced an increase in fares from the end of April.

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