Bus cuts protest steps up a gear in Ribble Valley

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The campaign against the proposed bus cuts gathered pace in the Ribble Valley this week.

Parish councils were holding meetings at villages across the area to make more people aware of the cuts and how to protest against them.

Campaigners in Chipping set up a facebook page that has received 10,000 likes and shares both in the Ribble Valley and across the country. Protestor Sharon Pinkett, who owns Brabin’s shop and tea room, said: “We are also in the process of taking advice about the legality of the situation.’’

In Ribchester a special information event was held on Saturday organised by the village’s Save Our Buses group and a second meeting is planned for tonight. Local schoolchildren have also organised a Save Our Buses poster campaign to raise awarenesss of the issue.

The controversial plans by Lancashire County Council to withdraw the subsidy for hundreds of bus services will leave many elderly, vulnerable people, workers, students, parents and children across the Valley without public transport, campaigners have claimed.

Over the next five years the county council must deliver savings of £262m. on top of those prevsiously agreed and a raft of cuts to bus services is among the proposals to help fund the shortfall.

Bus service contracts will end on April 2nd and bus operators are now being asked if they could provide some service level in area without any subsidy. But as these services are provided with a significant subsidy by the county council the companies face running them at a financial loss.

A campaigner, who asked not to be named: “The way forward now is to get the existing bus companies to take on the routes that will be axed or ask other bus firms to do this.

“We have to be realistic about the situation and accept that many of the routes facing the chop are going to disappear so we have to think about a way forward, even for someone to form a brand new bus company.’’

Full details of the consultation process are available at the council website http://www.lancashire.gov.uk under Budget proposal consultation.