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Transport bosses in U-turn over East Lancashire's bus timetables
THOUSANDS of paper timetables are returning to bus stops across East Lancashire after a victory for county charity Caritas Care.
It was outraged when Lancashire County Council decided to replace almost 3,000 of the easy to use sheets with a text-only service to check bus times at 25p an enquiry.
After a massive protest led by the charity and its learning disabled and pensioner clients, the authority and bus operators, including Transdev, have struck a deal to print and replace 2,500 of the timetables.
Hundreds will re-appear in the next few weeks at stops in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Chorley and Rossendale.
The county previously produced information for around 4,000 bus stops but this was cut to 1,000 because of the government’s cash squeeze.
Now a new deal — modelled on the system operated by Transdev for its services in Blackburn, Burnley and the surrounding area — means that the county and bus operators together will produce the leaflets.
Caritas Care’s service users, many of whom have learning disabilities and are regular bus travellers, found they were unable to use the texting method, making it difficult for them to travel far from their homes.
Bus operators also received a number of complaints from elderly passengers.
Managers at Caritas Care, which works with people with learning disabilities, and older people launched a petition and lobbied local MPs and bus companies.
Last week it was announced that the paper timetables are to be reinstated. Project Leader James Hughes said: “We couldn’t be happier with this outcome and the involvement of over vulnerable service users clearly made a difference.”
County bus boss Malcolm Barron said: “We and bus operators recognise how much passengers value timetables at bus stops.
“We’re very pleased to be working alongside operators to return paper timetables to most of the stops throughout Lancashire in a more sustainable way.”
Blackburn with Darwen council have no plans to remove timetables and are in the process of printing new ones taking account of recent service changes for distribution before Christmas.