Axe threatened Lancashire bus route thrown a lifeline

Lancashire County Council has stepped in to save a bus route facing the axe
Lancashire County Council has stepped in to save a bus route facing the axe

A bus service which links Preston, Clitheroe and Skipton has been saved.

The 280 bus service was under threat as the current operator, Rotala Preston Bus advised it could no longer provide the service commercially after June 16.

However, Lancashire County Council and Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire have been working together to ensure the service continues following a tendering exercise with other bus operators to establish the best value solution.

Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire will take over operation of Service 280 route from June 17.

County Hall has advised there will be some minor timetable amendments but the service will continue to operate Monday to Saturday daytime every hour between Preston and Clitheroe extending through to Skipton every two hours as with the current service.

However, the route has been extended between Barnoldswick and Skipton to additionally serve Earby.

Lancashire County Council will initially provide more than £80,000 per year to subsidise the route, with Ribble Valley Council and Pendle Council being asked to provide a contribution to help facilitate the first year’s operation.

County Coun Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This is a well-used bus route providing thousands of people with a vital link between their home towns and employment areas such as the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone.

“Without it, people would struggle to get to work, school and many communities across our county would become isolated. It’s great that the new route will also provide an extra link for people in Earby.

“We had to step in and take action to ensure the service continues without a gap and it’s tremendous news that Stagecoach has agreed to operate the 280 route. We’re hoping to work with Ribble Valley and Pendle Borough Councils to fund this service.”

James Mellor, commercial director at Stagecoach, said: “Stagecoach is pleased to be working in partnership with Lancashire County Council to both secure and operate this vital local bus service and we look forward to welcoming customers on board without any gap in service.”