Community turns out in force to save one and only bus service

Sabden residents put on an impressive display of protest over plans to axe their bus service.
Protestors gather around the village bus stop.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
14-3-2016

Sabden residents put on an impressive display of protest over plans to axe their bus service. Protestors gather around the village bus stop. PIC BY ROB LOCK 14-3-2016

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A community has turned out in force to protest after their one and only bus service was axed.

Residents in Sabden claim their village will be cut off when their only bus stops at the beginning of May.

Over 100 people, from babes in arms to people in their eighties, turned out this week in a placard waving protest against the decision by Transdev to axe the service following the withdrawal of subsidies from Lancashire County Council.

A number of people, who work in Burnley, Blackburn and Colne are already considering selling up and moving out of the village as they will have no means of getting to their jobs. The move will affect the many schoolchildren and students who rely on the bus twice a day and Sabden’s senior citizens will be left stranded, unable to get to doctor’s apppointments or to go shopping.

Young mum Gwenda McCullough is worried about how she will get to her job as a teaching assistant in Langho. Her son Josh also relies on the bus to get to his employment as a butcher in Wilpshire.

And 14-year-old Max Barlow’s mum, Joanna, fears he may not be able to take up a prized place at Burnley’s University Technical College. She said: “We are a working family with care commitments so how is Max and all the other schoolchildren affected expected to get to their place of education? It is almost discriminatory against these people.’’

Residents hit back at claims by Transdev that the route, which runs from Clitheroe to Nelson, stopping at Read, Padiham and Burnley was not commercially viable as on average only two passengers use the Sabden route.

Mrs Linda Hamer said: “Many people have passes which they use but they don’t count those. The bus service in Sabden is well used and anyone who doubts that just needs to look at the number of people who have come along today to support the campaign.’’

County Coun. Alan Fillis said he recognised how strongly Sabden residents felt about their bus service and pointed out that on top of the £2m. funding to put threatened services back on the road a further £1m. capital funding was also available through the Parish Based Partnership.

A working party will now look at all the options and Sabden parish councillor John Shorter has asked people to write to the county council with their individual stories and reasons to keep the service. The email addresses are busservices@lancashire.gov.uk and lcc.gov.services
@lancashire/gov.uk.