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MP leads ‘Save our buses’ campaign

March 28, 2011 10:45 AM

TF ruralLocal MP Tim Farron has today thanked local residents for their overwhelming response to his 'Save our buses' campaign.

Last month the county council released their plans for cutting rural bus services all over the South Lakes. Tim's office has been inundated by local residents who are concerned about these proposals. Bus services like the 550 from Silverdale to Kendal, 564A from Cowgill to Kendal via Dent and the 541 from Bowness to Kendal are being proposed to be cut under the current plans, leaving many communities with no public transport at all.

Cutting subsidies to the 19 loss-making routes will only save £340,000 compared to the council's budget deficit of £33 million. At last month's budget setting meeting, the Liberal Democrat group proposed plans which would put the £340,000 back into the budget - but those plans were voted down by Labour and Conservative councillors. Tim has led the campaign to make the county council put their bus closures out to public consultation and allow people to make their voice heard. Tim has sent petitions to people in Levens and other areas asking them to support his campaign. He is working with colleagues to sit down with the bus operators asking them to look at alternative services.

Tim has also recently uncovered that the government has already given over £250,000 to protect rural bus services within in Cumbria. Only a few weeks ago Lib Dem Minister Norman Baker gave the county council £288,542 from a £10m national fund - the highest allocation in the North West to support rural transport.

Commenting, Tim said; "I am worried about elderly and vulnerable people who use the buses to get into Kendal to collect their pension or to visit Westmorland General Hospital. This will also affect younger people who cannot drive but use the bus to get to school in some rural areas. In places like Levens and Dent people deserve to be heard. I am working to make sure they are. But we have uncovered that recent the County Council has only a couple of weeks ago extra funds for rural transport and then decisions to take the funding and cut services. This is totally unacceptable.

"In a rural area like ours public transport plays a vital role for local people but also to our tourism economy. This could really affect our area and this is why the council need to put their plans to the public and listen to their opinions."