Category Archives: Rural Bus Service

BUGS March Minutes

 Minutes for BUG meeting, 16th March 2017
1.45 pm Carnforth Railway Heritage Station

  1. Present: Jim Davies, Abi Mills, Eric Jones, Margaret, David Cox, Dorothy Pearce, Ken Pearce, Duncan Foster, John Keegan, Paul Legon, Heather Kellett, Mel Guilding, Andrew Drummond, G.J. Beckett, Pauline White, Roger Frankland Apologies: Paul Gardener, Grace Donhue, Tim Hamilton Cox, Alec Crouch, Drusilla Nesbitt, Carol Gardener, Richard Scott, David Barnes, Steve Clarke, Joy Greenwood, Gina Dowding, Mary Searle-Chatterjee, Brian Wearing
  1. Presentation by Jack Waring from Glasdon Group Ltd (about Bus shelters)

Jack Waring gave an interesting presentation about the development of the bus stops Glasdon are designing and took feedback from members as to what is important for passengers in bus stop design. AM asked if they could put a new prototype bus stop on Keswick Road, Lancaster, as the stop there is in desperate need of replacement. They said this could be a possibility and will arrange to come and visit the site.

  1. Number 18 bus

JD gave an update on the service that is now running. Fixed funding £15000, that will last 19 months. £65000 will also be available from Miller homes (Leisure Park houses) s106 money as well in the near future. BUG organised a launch event, which received good press coverage.  BUG also printed 500 leaflets and delivered to the area of the route. THC delivered stagecoach leaflets too.

  1. Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire increased timetable for service 8 and 9

Due to KLC having a bus freed up, as no longer running no 18, so services to Ryelands and Bowerham have been improved.

  1. Service review by Stagecoach, which routes do we want looking at?

6a – Lancaster needs to be every half hour

Mellishaw Lane Retail Park – could route change make it work?

Mossgate Park/Windermere Park – needs a bus service!

Leaflet to advertise tickets – Lancaster Bus Guide was produced last April, with map. Much more user friendly – need to make sure it is kept up to date, it needs no 18 on

Uni along A6 – buses full by time get along Greaves Road – still happening

Need a re-run the Give up your Seat campaign at the beginning of every new academic year

1840 Lune Valley service – bus needs to be officially timetabled to Kirkby Lonsdale. Bus could come back through Wittington, Arkholme and Halton.

Split 81 services to go to both sides of the Lune Valley

Circular Bus serving Kirkby Lonsdale, Ingleton and Wray – has anyone every looked at this?

Could later buses be reinstated to and from Kirkby Lonsdale and Lancaster?

Wray to Kirbky Lonsdale – needs to be some buses

Stagecoach will be invited to next meeting in May

  1. Update on Local Transport Plan – nothing to report, as what happens will depend on the outcome of the Local Plan Consultation
  1. Local Plan consultation – how can bus users get their voices heard?

Please respond starting public transport need to be taken into account. AM will send out a link to the consultation with minutes of this meeting.

  1.  Greyhound Bridge works and what effect it will have on the buses

Need to wait to see what Stagecoach say, BUG may get involved with helping with publicity about how this will effect services.

  1. Membership renewal

Members have been asked to renew membership if not already done so. Steve Clarke will be sending reminders to those who still need to pay.

  1. Date and time of next meeting

11th May- 6 pm, The Cornerstone, Lancaster

  1. AOB

Mary Searle-Chatterjee asked Halton Parish Council for funding to improve a bus shelter in Halton, it now has a new seat installed and the shelter has been painted.  

Summer timetable 755 will be coming though at 10.25 so will improve the connecting in Carnforth if using 51

Mel Guilding reported that the 49 service will be going through Highfield Estate, hopefully by end of March. MG will let us know when this will start.

Dales Bus – will be 3 services.

One – Northern Dalesman run by Preston Bus

Two – Mallam Tarn Shuttle – KLC starting in Lancaster

Three – Bowland Exporer – Travellers Choice – start in Lancaster

Will be a concessions ticket at £7 and £1 for single trip for ‘under 19’s, but children under 16 go free with the holder of a Dales Rover ticket.

Dales Bus leaflet – timetable is now available at bus station and details are on the BUG website

Northern Rail have funded these services

Agenda for next meeting – BUG day trips to use the buses!

AM 19.3.17

Bus User Group

John Keegan and I attended the Lancaster Bus User Group meeting at the excellent Carnforth Railway Station Heritage Centre.

In a busy agenda there was a presentation by a company called Glasdon Group Ltd. on their concept design of Bus Shelters.  They told us about one such shelter, in Manchester, which cost £30,000 and provided free Wi-Fi connection, a graphic display of the current bus arrival time status and other things that I am sure we would (in happier times) have found most useful in our Bus Shelter.

We took the opportunity to report on the hand constructed fell stone and antique reclaimed timber facility of which we are proud.  They were impressed, especially that we had two local notice boards in it.

In an item related to Stagecoach Service Review we were able to expound some of our concepts on the possibility of a review for the old 81A route.  This met with a surprisingly warm reception, as it coincided with a possible re-instatement of the 81B route through Wennington, Tatham and Wray, because of the difficulties in those villagers getting to Kirkby Lonsdale.  The Chairman had been discussing this with Stagecoach recently.

It was agreed that at the next meeting, on the 11 May in Lancaster, an Agenda item specific to the 81 Service will be included.

It is good to be able to report on a positive reaction.  We must encouraged a maximum supporting attendance at this meeting.

BUGS 16/3/17

Duncan and I have just received the Agenda for the March meeting of the Lancaster Bus User Group.  The meeting is to be held at the Carnforth Railway Heritage Station at 13:45 on the 16 March. The Agenda is as follows:

  1. Welcome, introductions and apologies
  2. Presentation by Jack Waring from Glasdon Group Ltd (about Bus shelters)
  3. Number 18 bus
  4. Kirkby Lonsdale Buses increased timetable for service 8 and 9
  5. Service review by Stagecoach, which routes do we want looking at?
  6. Update on Local Transport Plan
  7. Local Plan consultation – how can bus users get their voices heard?
  8. Greyhound Bridge works and what effect it will have on the buses
  9. Membership renewal
  10. Date and time of next meeting
  11. AOB including Halton Bus Shelter

In the past Duncan and I, and also our PC Vice Chairman Colin Hall, together with City Counsellor Peter Williamson, and representatives of both Arkholme and Gressingham PC’s,  have attended these meetings.  I cannot say who will be available to attend this meeting (no buses!) but please make your comments on this Blog and I will make sure they are circulated to the PC and all others concerned in our bus campaign.

At the moment Duncan and I are working on a strategy to use the forthcoming County Council elections as a vehicle to enhance and promote our cause.  We will be posting details of our deliberations on the Blog a.s.a.p.

John Keegan

Transport Policy

I have to admit that I do not know just how important this will be to our interest in the lack of buses.  You can read the full document by downloading it from this link Assessment and Priority Policy for Public Transport Services in Lancashire Dec 2016.

Alternatively, the following is a precis kindly produced by the Lancaster Bus Users Group:

“Lancashire County Council’s funding difficulties have led to a large number of cuts to supported bus services in the current financial year and projections for future years paint a similarly depressing picture. It’s no secret that in many areas the council sees the future for public transport consisting of community transport, parish buses and even car sharing schemes. But a revised policy for supported bus services suggests that there may still be a role for the conventional local bus.
The County Council’s new “Assessment & Priority Policy for Public Transport Services in Lancashire”, adopted in December 2016 sets out a two-part process for bus services that require financial support from the council.
Step 1:  Service Need Assessment Process
The first step is to determine whether there has been a “failure of the market” where no commercial bus operator is running a service or where a commercial service has been withdrawn. This process has five stages  which can be summarised as
i)  Are there any alternative services available to people either to the same destination or to alternative comparable destinations and will provision of a supported service by the council undermine any comparable commercial services by diverting passengers away from them. If none of the above applies then the process moves on to stage ii)
ii) In the absence of the proposed service will the needs of the communities affected still be met. The “needs” in question will differ from area to area and are defined in the council’s “needs profile” for each of the 34 “neighbourhood areas” that Lancashire is now divided into.  If these needs are not being met then on to stage iii)
iii) What will be the impact of the loss of a service on existing users?  There are three considerations here:  a) Does the council have a statutory duty to provide transport for any existing users? (This is generally restricted to schoolchildren attending provided schools over the maximum walking distance away); b) Will any users be denied access to key services? (Basically Employment, Medical services and shopping)  and c) Are any users “particularly reliant” on the bus service (i.e. elderly people, young people, people with disabilities or those living in areas of high social-deprivation and low car-ownership).  If this stage is passed, it’s on to stage iv)
iv)  This stage asks “Is the service “value for money?”  This is calculated by taking the cost of running the service, deducting all the income from fares, concessionary passes, season tickets etc and then dividing the result by the number of passengers travelling to calculate a “cost-per-passenger-journey.  If this figure works out at £5 or less then the service is considered to have passed the test.
v)  Step five requires a decision to be taken about whether the local circumstances (taking into account the previous four steps) show that a service is required.  If this is the case then we move on to Step 2
Step 2:  Service Provision Priority Process
This stage is required because the County Council recognises that its financial position is such that it is unlikely to be able to fund all the services that make it through Step 1 and it will need to prioritise them. The priorities taken into consideration are:
a) What is the purpose of passengers’ journeys? (In declining order of priority these are Employment, Medical/Welfare, Shopping, Education and Leisure). Education may seem a low priority here, but schoolchildren to whom the council has a legal duty to provide transport are taken into account separately).
b) Does the service serve at least one of the 34 Neighbourhood Centres determined by the council?
c) Does the service pass through one of the council’s “Air Quality Management Zones” and could thus be seen as contributing to improved air quality. (A curious one, as the bus services concerned likely to be used to relatively small numbers of people, most of whom will not have access to cars so the effects on air quality are likely to be marginal)
d) Priority is to be given to services running at least five days a week. (A priority that appears to discriminate against rural areas where many potential users would be happy to see buses one or two days a week rather than none at all).
e) What alternatives are available. (This appears to duplicate stage i) in the Assessment Process (above).
f) Priority is to be given to services carrying larger numbers of holders of Concessionary Bus Passes on the grounds that they are less likely to have access to alternatives. (This is encouraging and it should stop passholders feeling in any way “guilty” that by using their passes they are undermining their bus service, whereas in practice they will be doing the opposite).
g) Usage.  The more people that use the service and the lower the cost-per-passenger the higher the priority. This ensures that the available funding benefits the maximum number of 
And Finally. . . 
Even when a service has passed successfully through all the above it will still have to be evaluated against the alternatives with a bus service seemingly a bit of a last resort!  The council will consider whether a service can be provided by other means (such as community transport, Parish Bus Schemes, taxis, car clubs or even car sharing schemes.
It will, sensibly, search for alternative funding sources such as District or Parish Council contributions or payments from developers under “section 106” (although if Lancaster’s service 18 is anything to go by don’t hold your breath!)
It will look to see if the need can be met by diverting an existing service (although one would have thought that this might have been done at the start of the process!) and if more services qualify for funding than is funding is available for they can be placed on a reserve list until such funding becomes available.
The good news is that the council sees a value in maintaining stability in its supported bus network and it has recently announced that it is extending all existing contracts until the end of March 2018. Furthermore, all the Lancaster area services supported by the council are, according to published figures, well within the £5 per passenger journey criterion.”