Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 5, 2018

Better Buses Due To Arrive Soon

Better than what, no buses at all ? Any buses arriving soon, after the decimation of some West Lancashire bus services by the social exclusion programme of the WLBC, will be welcome. “Transport should not be seen as an end in itself but as a gateway to other things, to health and well-being, to social involvement, to being a useful member of the community, and to doing all the things that many of us take for granted”. And the Arms of West Lancashire? “Salus Populi Suprema Lex”  translated means “The Wellbeing of the People-The Supreme law”. Only ever seen used for the 

Now, the County states “More improvements to buses are due to start soon thanks to new investment by Lancashire County Council. Better services are due to begin in West Lancashire in February. We’ve listened to what people have told us about the local need for these buses, and the difference they will make to their lives”.

“A new service in West Lancashire will start on Monday 12 February. Service 315 Ormskirk – Haskayne – Halsall – Shirdley Hill – Southport…a new Service 315 between Ormskirk, Haskayne, Halsall and Shirdley Hill, will restore a public transport link to the Shirdley Hill area which has not had a bus since a commercial service was diverted away from there in 2014. The new service to be run by Holmeswood Coaches will provide a bus  every two hours linking the villages to Ormskirk and Southport”.

So the County listened? We elderly and disabled people spoke to WLBC and LCC years ago when they didn’t listen, when they took away the off peak travel concession that gave us £28 a year while just down the road at Maghull their concession was free off peak on buses, rail, and ferries too. Westleconomics ruled the WLBC transport economy which failed over 4,000 concession holders.

Remember when West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper called on the Prime Minister to deliver a fair and equitable deal on concessionary rail travel for local pensioners? During the exchange at weekly Prime Minister’s Questions, MP Rosie challenged the value of a concessionary bus pass if there are no buses on which to use the pass. Rosie continued fighting her campaign to secure concessionary rail travel for West Lancashire pensioners, which she has done for several years alongside local pensioner groups such as West Lancashire Pensioners Forum and Skelmersdale Senior Citizens Association.

MP Rosie believed that West Lancashire pensioners deserve a fair deal on rail travel, like their neighbours in Liverpool, Wigan and Southport. Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, MP Rosie said “It’s all well and good the Prime Minister saying that pensioners ‘deserve dignity’ when they retire. Whilst the commitment to protect the concessionary bus pass is welcome it doesn’t recognise or solve the problem West Lancashire pensioners face in getting about.

“We have a situation in which private bus companies are stopping services across all communities leaving those who rely on public transport increasingly isolated. At the same time the Conservative government have slashed the budgets of local authorities, which means they don’t have the funds to subsidise replacements services.

“Then we have a Borough Council who when they had the chance and the money to provide a fair deal for pensioners on concessionary travel chose to fill the council pockets instead. The profits they made from the original bus pass scheme were put into the council coffers instead of supporting local pensioners. The same council also wasted £650,000 on demolishing four homes to extend the council car park but refused to discuss how this money could be used for concessionary rail passes for local pensioners.

“The Borough Council also appears to ignore the fact that that there are no rules stopping them from providing additional travel concessions for local residents. Perhaps it’s time to return the money they pocketed in the past. The Prime Minister also delivered a real slap in the face to West Lancashire pensioners by ignoring the question. Just as the local Conservative Borough Council shunned local pensioners when it came to delivering a fair deal on concessionary travel. I do have a clear message for Downing Street and for Derby Street, neither me or local pensioners are going away and won’t be ignored”.

But we were ignored, in the name of austerity. So we are expected to doff our caps and bend our arthritic knees to these miserable new two hour services. Not likely.

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