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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Axed Cumbrian bus service all set to get reprieve

The rural bus service between Cockermouth and Frizington, which was axed by the county council last year, looks set to run for another six months.

The council’s local committee for Allerdale is expected to agree to part-fund the 217 Wednesday service with a £900 grant when members meet today.

The committee hopes that Arlecdon and Frizington, Dean and Ennerdale and Kinniside parish council’s will also contribute to the costs to enable the service to run for another six months.

The service was saved for a six-month trial basis last year when it was first stopped. This period has now came to an end and there are hopes it could be extended for another half-a-year.

Dean parish councillor Gillian Moore, from Eaglesfield, said that it was a lifeline as it covered such a large rural area.

“There was nothing that came this way when the service was not running,” she added. “We need more people to use it to enable it to keep going.”

The rationale for the initial closure was that there is a frequent service provided by Service 31 from Frizington to Maryport via Cleator Moor, Whitehaven and Workington and that on Fridays Service 218 provides transport to Workington for a number of villages on the route.

It currently runs once a week with two return trips. The timings have been designed to suit people who want to pop into Cockermouth for a couple of hours or to spend the whole day there.

Previously there was a service running three journeys a day from Monday to Friday, plus two trips on a Saturday in both directions, with an extra service on a Thursday. It was one of 19 services stopped last May after a county council budget review.

A report to the Allerdale committee says that the future of the service is being closely monitored and although the grant application is being recommended for approval, it is unlikely that any further county council investment will be supported.

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