County councillor: “Why I said “no” to replacement bus service for Sabden.”

County Coun John Fillis
County Coun John Fillis

The man responsible for scuppering a new bus service for Sabden has given the reasons why he said “no’ to the proposal.

County Coun. John Fillis, who is the Cabinet member for Lancashire County Council’s Highways and Transport, has been blasted by residents for refusing to back the proposal to put out tenders for a new two hourly bus service running Monday to Saturday, between Clitheroe, Sabden and Burnley.

This means that the village will be left without any form of public transport whatsoever from Monday.

Giving the reasons for his decision County Coun. Fillis said: “Lancashire County Council is not a bus operator and has no statutory duty to provide or operate bus services. This was a commercial service and the intention of the council was to reorganise the subsidised services that we were responsible for.

“If it was the will of the council to consider supporting the loss of commercial services then Preston, South Ribble and West Lancashire services should have been considered by the committee, to name just a few.

“Considering the financial position of the council, I do not believe that we are in a position to subsidise future changes by private companies to commercial routes.

“We also have to consider what steps would be taken if previously subsidised services were not commercially viable.”

He pointed out that the county council plans to introduce community run bus services for areas left stranded like Sabden. Capital funding would be used to buy or lease minibuses and the county council would maintain the vehicles while the councils would operate costs such as drivers, fuel and management of operations.