Proposed bus cuts could leave thousands stranded

The Westmorland Gazette: Rural buses are a lifeline to many in Cumbria Rural buses are a lifeline to many in Cumbria

THOUSANDS of Cumbrian people face isolation as council budget cuts threaten bus routes.

Cumbria County Council has proposed to stop subsidising services in a bid to save £1.9million for each of the next three years.

The move could potentially affect 43 day-time services, including the Kendal town 44, Windermere town 597 and Ulverston town 70, 17 evening services and 10 on a Sunday.

The plans were revealed as part of council plans to save £80million by 2017, and are out to public consultation until January 20.

Some Hallgarth residents who rely on the 44 bus said its loss would ‘cut off a life-line’.

Madge Walker, of Hallgarth Circle, said: “I go into town every day on that bus – I cannot walk that far, especially with shopping.

“I would have to wait until Wednesday for the community bus, and I would be stuck the rest of the time. It would be life changing.”

District councillor for the area, Coun Rob Boden, said people were furious about lack of information, and he has arranged public meetings at Hallgarth Community Centre for next week, Tuesday at 3pm and Wednesday at 7pm.

Coun Boden said that very few people were aware of the potential cuts to services.

“If I had known I would have put posters up and encouraged people to express their views. Now we are already six weeks into the consultation period so have had to try and come up with something quickly.”

Bus operators Travellers Choice and Woofs of Sedbergh also said they had not been notified about the plans.

County Council spokesman Gareth Cosslett said: “We are writing to all our bus operators and circulating questionnaires on all of our subsidised bus routes for passengers. But we are relying on the operators to distribute these.”

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He added that transport services run by communities could provide an alternative option for passengers.

“Lots of people live in areas where there are no bus services and they find another way to get where they need to.”

Matthew Sutton, director of Kirkby Lonsdale Coaches, which operates the Kendal 44 and the 106 Kendal to Penrith routes, said his company was looking at options to tun the 44 service commercially.

But he did not think the 106 service would be viable unless it was subsidised. “It will be a kick to our turnover but I know there is not much I can do,” he said.

“The customers are angry though and the two drivers could lose their jobs.”

Robinson’s Coaches also said it was possible that their Appleby to Kendal and Appleby to Penrith services would not be commercially viable unless they were subsidised.

Other possible firms affected include Stagecoach, who said they would consider all possible options once decisions were made, and Lecks Travel said it had ‘not quite got to grips’ with what could happen.

Have your say about any of the council budget proposals at www.cumbria.gov.uk/ourfuture

Comments (10)

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5:32pm Thu 5 Dec 13

laker1 says...

Its funny that Councillor Boden is furious at these proposed cuts seeing that the decision is being made by his Liberal colleagues. Bearing in mind that even though a minute proportion of South Lakelanders voted for Labour - the Liberals in their desperate bid for power got straight into bed with them - unfortunately they don't seem to be strong enough to stand up against their Labour colleagues and fight for their electorate.
Its funny that Councillor Boden is furious at these proposed cuts seeing that the decision is being made by his Liberal colleagues. Bearing in mind that even though a minute proportion of South Lakelanders voted for Labour - the Liberals in their desperate bid for power got straight into bed with them - unfortunately they don't seem to be strong enough to stand up against their Labour colleagues and fight for their electorate. laker1

5:50pm Thu 5 Dec 13

onelocal says...

Very true. The Labour majority at Cumbria CC gave Councillor Stephenson, leader of the Lib Dems, the leadership of the Finance portfolio, a poisoned chalice if ever there was one. Now he has to implement the costs cuts, impacting the less well off, the old and the electors of South Lakes who put them there in the first place. Not very Liberal of the Lib Dems. But isn't this a dress rehearsal for the General Election, where they will get into bed with whoever. They will change their policies, and who they impact for that whiff of power.
Very true. The Labour majority at Cumbria CC gave Councillor Stephenson, leader of the Lib Dems, the leadership of the Finance portfolio, a poisoned chalice if ever there was one. Now he has to implement the costs cuts, impacting the less well off, the old and the electors of South Lakes who put them there in the first place. Not very Liberal of the Lib Dems. But isn't this a dress rehearsal for the General Election, where they will get into bed with whoever. They will change their policies, and who they impact for that whiff of power. onelocal

12:32pm Fri 6 Dec 13

laker1 says...

Its not just bus services that Kendal will lose - wait till they announce the reduction of fire cover for the town - No doubt Mr Farron will condemn the move that his boys and girls are pushing through
Its not just bus services that Kendal will lose - wait till they announce the reduction of fire cover for the town - No doubt Mr Farron will condemn the move that his boys and girls are pushing through laker1

1:55pm Fri 6 Dec 13

fellsman says...

It's a pity the WG have taken out the most commented section of this website - I'm sure there will be others in Kendal who would comment, but without that section, articles get lost in the bin once they leave the first page of news items.

I understand Mr S is struggling against his Labour boss Stuart Young
It's a pity the WG have taken out the most commented section of this website - I'm sure there will be others in Kendal who would comment, but without that section, articles get lost in the bin once they leave the first page of news items. I understand Mr S is struggling against his Labour boss Stuart Young fellsman

5:31pm Fri 6 Dec 13

laker1 says...

The silence is deafening - perhaps people are not bothered about what is to hit Kendal
The silence is deafening - perhaps people are not bothered about what is to hit Kendal laker1

7:11pm Fri 6 Dec 13

onelocal says...

laker1 wrote:
Its not just bus services that Kendal will lose - wait till they announce the reduction of fire cover for the town - No doubt Mr Farron will condemn the move that his boys and girls are pushing through
And the on street parking charges. And the council tax increase
[quote][p][bold]laker1[/bold] wrote: Its not just bus services that Kendal will lose - wait till they announce the reduction of fire cover for the town - No doubt Mr Farron will condemn the move that his boys and girls are pushing through[/p][/quote]And the on street parking charges. And the council tax increase onelocal

7:16pm Fri 6 Dec 13

onelocal says...

Councillor Boden has obviously had enough of the Lib Dems, as he has left the Lib Dem group and is now an Independent. Sounds like a man with principles
Councillor Boden has obviously had enough of the Lib Dems, as he has left the Lib Dem group and is now an Independent. Sounds like a man with principles onelocal

7:32pm Fri 6 Dec 13

fellsman says...

onelocal wrote:
Councillor Boden has obviously had enough of the Lib Dems, as he has left the Lib Dem group and is now an Independent. Sounds like a man with principles
Now there's a refreshing change - wonder if he'll start a trend, there must be plenty of others who are aghast at the goings on of the local Liberal 'elite'!!
[quote][p][bold]onelocal[/bold] wrote: Councillor Boden has obviously had enough of the Lib Dems, as he has left the Lib Dem group and is now an Independent. Sounds like a man with principles[/p][/quote]Now there's a refreshing change - wonder if he'll start a trend, there must be plenty of others who are aghast at the goings on of the local Liberal 'elite'!! fellsman

9:16am Mon 9 Dec 13

boris plasticmac says...

The recently approved Land Allocations were partially based on the availability of decent public transport.
It must have been known that there was a possibility that subsidies were going to be withdrawn but is yet another example of inconvenient facts being overlooked.
The recently approved Land Allocations were partially based on the availability of decent public transport. It must have been known that there was a possibility that subsidies were going to be withdrawn but is yet another example of inconvenient facts being overlooked. boris plasticmac

3:25pm Tue 24 Dec 13

JohnDisney says...

Sedbergh could be left almost isolated with at best a limited service to Kendal; can't see much future for the Sedbergh - Ravenstonedale - Kirkby Stephen route though this would be much better patronised if it connected with trains at Kirkby Stephen Station.
Just as in North Yorkshire the tourism trade will suffer as Overseas Visitors in particular depend upon decent public transport to travel around; they will stay in the "honeypot" centres and the rural areas will lose out
Sedbergh could be left almost isolated with at best a limited service to Kendal; can't see much future for the Sedbergh - Ravenstonedale - Kirkby Stephen route though this would be much better patronised if it connected with trains at Kirkby Stephen Station. Just as in North Yorkshire the tourism trade will suffer as Overseas Visitors in particular depend upon decent public transport to travel around; they will stay in the "honeypot" centres and the rural areas will lose out JohnDisney

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