Lifeline thrown to Wigan to Preston bus service
A lifeline has been thrown to a bus service which had been threatened with the axe next month.
Lancashire County Council has said it will be stepping in to fund the 113 service from Wigan to Preston “for the foreseeable future”, after Stagecoach withdrew its commercial operation of the service last month.
Other news: Leigh Centurions commentator Phil Todoric diesThe new temporary service by Stagecoach would be a full replacement commencing on Monday, January 7.
The council said its intervention was “to ensure the maintenance of a number of public transport links between Preston and Wigan across a wide area of south Lancashire, including Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and West Lancashire districts.”
The 113 service currently operates every hour between Monday and Saturday daytime travelling through Standish, Wrightington, Heskin, Eccleston, Croston, Ulnes Walton, Leyland, Lostock Hall, Bamber Bridge, and Walton-le-Dale before arriving in Preston.
A sustainability review will follow the council’s initial funding of a full replacement service, after it revealed that the Â£240,000 cost per year to maintain it was not possible given existing budgets.
The review is aimed at ensuring the tendered bus service network is accommodated within the available budget, the proposal report said.
Coun Andrew Snowden, lead member for public transport, said: “We have been working tirelessly with officers, residents, partners and elected representatives since Stagecoach arrived at their decision to withdraw the service.
“My aim throughout this has to ensure that we don’t have a knee-jerk reaction, but that we found a long-term sustainable solution to keep the 113 bus route running.”
West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the news, saying: “The decision taken by Lancashire County Council to fund the continuation of the 113 bus service for an interim period is very much welcomed and I am sure many residents will be relieved that they won’t be cut off from access to vital local amenities and services.”