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Monday, 20 October 2014

Five-day boost for Ulverston bus service

A POPULAR daily town bus service is to be revived.

The number 60 service in Ulverston will run five times a day, from Monday to Friday, for six months following a decision by the county council to merge it with the existing number 70 service.

There was public outcry in 2011 when the council pulled funding for the service, which provides transport around the town centre, health centre, Canal Foot and North Lonsdale Road areas.

Peter Hornby, county councillor for Ulverston East, said the service had been well-used until it was hit by budget cuts.

He added: “We are hoping the residents down there will use it – if there is plenty of use it will carry on.”

Following a four-month reprieve won by campaigners, Cumbria County Council agreed to keep the service running two days a week, on a Tuesday and Thursday, in April last year.

Now the council’s local committee for South Lakeland has decided to spend £3,100 on a six-month trial scheme that will see five of the 11 journeys a day on the number 70 route diverted to cover the number 60 service.

A report to members said the plans, which went out to consultation last year, had received a generally positive response.

But without seeing usage figures increase, the council would struggle to offset the additional cost of £6,183 a year expected as a result of the changes, the report said.

Cllr Hornby said: “Hopefully we can see how it works out and we can get the best service we can for the money available.”

But he recognised that times were tough and the council would have to justify the expense.

He said: “The money for transport is diminishing, as everybody knows.”

If the uptake was insufficient, he said, the project – which is to begin at the end of the month – would not continue beyond the summer.

The council worked with Stagecoach to come up with costings for plans that would have seen the number 60 service run either three or five times a day.

It was decided the latter option, although costing more than £1,000 extra a year to run, was the more viable solution.

At the time the number 60 service was cut back to two days a week users had feared the changes could spell the end of the service.

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