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Cumbrian bus routes axed or withdrawn as council cuts subsidy

Nineteen rural bus routes in Cumbria will be cut or withdrawn completely from the end of April as a result of spending cuts.

Cumbria County Council says a reduction in government grants has forced it to slash subsidies by £346,000 although it will still spend £1.5 million to support loss-making services in 2011-12.

Most of the affected routes operate only one or two days a week to provide shopping journeys to large towns.

But the cuts will leave some villages without any public transport.

They include Blencogo, Crosby Garrett, Ennerdale Bridge, Gilgarran, Great Musgrave, Great Orton, Ivegill, Low Moreseby, Moat near Longtown, Pica, Skelton and Wreay.

The council says the services to be withdrawn were selected by careful evaluation, taking into account the numbers of passengers, the cost per passenger journey and the availability of alternatives.

It claims that the routes going are the least used and some cost taxpayers nearly £15 for each passenger carried.

Councillor Tim Knowles, the cabinet member responsible, said: “Given the scale of spending cuts, we have to make some difficult decisions.

“But we’ve been fair, balanced and meticulous in making these decisions.

“We can’t carry on supporting a bus that is so under used that it costs the public purse up to £15 per passenger every time the bus runs.”

He said there were alternatives, such as Rural Wheels and voluntary car-driver schemes, which would plug gaps where there were no longer any buses.

Bus passengers make almost 19m journeys in Cumbria each year but only 1.8m are on subsidised services.

The rest are on commercial routes, mostly run by Stagecoach, which are unaffected by the review of subsidies.

These are the changes affecting north and west Cumbria:

  • Reays 39: Aspatria-Carlisle via Fletchertown and Great Orton. Withdrawn to save £16,000 a year.
  • Stagecoach 71: Newton Arlosh-Carlisle. Carlisle College-holidays’ journey arriving in Carlisle at 8.50am and return at 5pm withdrawn to save £4,600. Term-time Carr’s bus from Silloth via Newton Arlosh unaffected.
  • NBM 111: Burnbanks-Penrith via Bampton. Tuesday service withdrawn to save £7,500. Saturday buses continue.
  • Telfords 127: Newcastleton-Carlisle. Will no longer serve Moat saving £3,700.
  • Stacey’s 133: Penrith-Carlisle via Lazonby, Kirkoswald and Wreay. Withdrawn to save £5,700.
  • Rosie’s Travel 217: Frizington-Cockermouth. Withdrawn saving £46,000.
  • John Hoban 222: Workington-Whitehaven via Gilgarran and Pica. Withdrawn saving £43,600. Alternative transport will be laid for sixth-form pupils in Workington.
  • Grand Prix 571: Warcop/Crosby Garrett/Nateby-Kirkby Stephen. Withdrawn saving £4,900.
  • Caldew Coaches 620: Caldbeck-Carlisle via Hesket Newmarket. Withdrawn to save £5,200.
  • Robinsons 625: Appleby-Penrith via Long Marton, Dufton and Knock. Tuesday service withdrawn but Saturday bus survives as does Friday circular from Appleby. Saving £3,800.
  • NBM 961: Caldbeck-Penrith via Hesket Newmarket and Skelton. Withdrawn saving £7,600.

These are the changes affecting south Cumbria:

  • 10: Barrow - Ulverston via Leece, Gleaston, Stainton, Little & Great Urswick
  • 511: Broughton in Furness - Ulverston including Service 60: Ulverston - Canal Head
  • 541: Bowness/Winster - Kendal via Underbarrow, Crosthwaite and Brigsteer (Tuesday and Thursday only)
  • 550: Silverdale - Beetham - Kendal via Hincaster, Sedgwick and Natland
  • 552: Levens - Kendal / Milnthorpe Diversion
  • 564: Kendal - Sedbergh (Monday - Friday 17:40)
  • 564A: Cowgill - Dent - Sedbergh - Kendal (Saturdays)
  • 571: Crosby Garrett - Kirkby Stephen (Wednesday)
  • 618: Barrow - Ulverston - Newby Bridge - Windermere - Ambleside
Have your say

is the 71 bus service going to be axed or reduced it does not explain properly.

Posted by janice foster on 15 August 2014 at 12:30

As if public transport wasn't ridiculous enough in these areas... The buses that do actually run are on timetables that completely ignore the need for connection services to other towns. That's when they are actually running to time anyway and the trains don't keep having 'signal failures' or bus drivers that stop the bus every ten minutes to get off and make calls on their mobile or text their pals. It's no wonder so many people struggle to sustain employment here. Laughable.

Posted by DB on 24 July 2011 at 11:34

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