BETTER facilities at bus stops, more buses at night and all-day tickets were just some of the ideas put forward to improve future bus services in Kendal.

The strong feeling among bus passengers has also prompted calls for a user group to be set up in the town.

At a public meeting in Kendal on Tuesday night, organised by Cumbria County Council, almost 30 people united to offer thoughts on what they want from newly revamped services following Stagecoach's decision to pull out of running its commercial routes.

As previously reported, the 41 to Oxenholme and Westmorland General Hospital, the 42 to Heron Hill, 43 to Sandylands, 44 to Hallgarth, 45 to Burneside and 445 to Bowston all face the axe at the end of March unless a new service provider can be found.

CCC public transport officer Mark Hodgkiss told the meeting: "I want the new improved services in Kendal to be a little bit like the new Mars bar not exactly a lot different to the old one but hopefully going to sell a lot more."

He outlined the results from a recent telephone survey of 1,000 local people in which about half said they would not use the buses no matter what CCC did.

The survey found that most people using the buses wanted to get to the town centre, while others wanted bus stops within a short distance from their home. Important factors for attracting new passengers were said to be low fares and better information and publicity of services.

One woman who uses the Heron Hill service said it was important to offer more services after 6pm.

"We have nothing after 6pm and if I got to the Brewery or somewhere at night I can't get back and I have to catch a taxi which can be expensive not everyone has cars," she said.

Peter Colley, who has an interest in all forms of sustainable transport, said one of his main concerns was the lack of publicity.

"People don't realise what services are available, when they the buses run, what the fares are and the bus station is a joke it doesn't even say it's a bus station," he said.

"It has poor facilities and the access to it is atrocious. These are the things that are off-putting to people wanting to use it."

After a short exercise in which people ranked the most important factors for the future of Kendal's bus services, better facilities at stops came top ahead of more buses after 6pm and more buses before 9am. Other suggestions included an all-day ticket, restoring the Stramongate bus stop and to have a dedicated circular bus.

Anyone wishing to add their comments to the bus survey can contact Mr Hodgkiss on 01228-606723.

People wanting to put their names forward for the proposed Kendal bus user group should contact Peter Robinson on 015395-34842.