Big changes will be coming to Preston bus services from the start of May following a £2.5m funding boost.
The changes starting on Monday 4 May will make the bus a better option by providing faster, more direct services, more frequent services, and better services on evenings and weekends.
The improvements have been made possible thanks to over £2.5m in funding available over the next five years through the planning system due to a number of new housing developments in the area, with Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and Rotala Preston Bus working together to introduce them.
County Councillor Andrew Snowden, Lancashire County Council lead member for highways and transport, said:
“Improving public transport is one of our priorities as it supports our economy, widening access to opportunities for work and education, as well as helping people attend appointments, do their shopping, and visit friends.
“These new and revised services in north Preston will also have an impact on improving our environment, providing growing communities with a good sustainable transport option, with frequent, more direct, and reliable services making it easier for people to choose using the bus over their car.”
Councillor Peter Moss, Preston City Council deputy leader and cabinet member for planning and regulation, added:
“These improvements have been made possible due to the Section 106 agreements we have applied to new housing developments at the planning stage, requiring developers to contribute towards improved services for their new residents and the wider community.
“People will have seen infrastructure changes as part of the Preston, South Ribble, and Lancashire City Deal in the form of new homes and new roads. While they offer the connectivity needed across the city, these new and improved bus routes to the new communities now provide access to public transport which is vital for those in the local area.
“Investing in sustainable forms of transport such as bus services, pedestrian and cycling pathways helps to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and the city’s carbon footprint. Funding for the new Cottam Parkway rail station is also a step closer with the announcement of £40 million awarded to the area in the Government’s recent budget.
“We’ll be working with Lancashire County Council over the next 5 to 10 years to invest developer contributions of more than £2.5m in improving access to public transport serving these new communities.”
A new Service 43 will provide a direct link between the city centre and Royal Preston Hospital, via the railway station, Tom Benson Way, Cottam and Lightfoot Lane.
Operating every 30 minutes during the daytime from Monday to Saturday, it will operate in conjunction with the existing Service 44 to provide services every 15 minutes between Cottam and the city centre. Service 43 will also operate hourly in the evenings, with a Sunday daytime service operating between the city centre, Cottam and Wychnor.
The existing Service 44 to Cottam Hoyles Lane will also be improved with a new hourly Sunday daytime service, along with minor route changes to improve coordination with new Service 43.
A new Service 46 will operate between Preston city centre and Broughton via Cadley and Woodplumpton, with services through Broughton extending to Whittingham Lane to serve more of the village as requested by residents. The introduction of this service will allow changes to existing Services 15, 77 & 77A.
Service 15 will be shortened to only operate between Preston city centre and Royal Preston Hospital via the Fulwood Longsands Lane area to improve its overall reliability, and Services 77 & 77A from Preston to Myerscough via Lea and Great Eccleston will be revised to operate via Navigation Way, Pedders Lane, Blackpool Road and Lea Road, instead of Cadley and Hoyles Lane.
Services between Preston City Centre and Ashton Lea Road will also be improved as a result of the revisions to Services 77 and 77A, with an hourly rather than two-hourly service during the daytime from Monday to Saturday.
John Asquith from Rotala Preston Bus said:
“Preston Bus are grateful for the work the county and city councils have put in to secure developer funding to ensure the ‘new’ up and coming areas are serviced by public transport and welcome the opportunity for Preston Bus to provide these socially necessary links.”