Cutbacks mar investment in Blackburn bus network

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A Wright Renown Volvo B10, fleet number 569, X569 XUG, is seen departing Blackburn's new Bus Station on July 17, 2016, working on the number 2 service to Blackburn Royal Hospital. This bus has since been withdrawn and worked its last revenue earning service on July 30, 2016, as the following day it was replaced with one of the 18 new Optare Versas. CHRIS NEWTON
A Wright Renown Volvo B10, fleet number 569, X569 XUG, is seen departing Blackburn’s new Bus Station on July 17, 2016, working on the number 2 service to Blackburn Royal Hospital. This bus has since been withdrawn and worked its last revenue earning service on July 30, 2016, as the following day it was replaced with one of the 18 new Optare Versas. CHRIS NEWTON

The Blackburn Bus Company, a Transdev operation which recently rebranded from Lancashire United, will see the loss of six local bus routes from August 28, 2016, due to council cutbacks.

The setback comes less than three months after a multi-million pound investment saw the opening of brand new bus stations in Blackburn and Accrington. Also, the Peninne Reach Project, which has taken nearly two years to implement major changes to the local road network to improve bus journey times and jointly funded the operator’s 18 new Optare Versa buses for use on the Hyndburn Circular routes 6 and 7 (see P10) has resulted in a reduction of passenger numbers on some services due to major disruption.

CBW understands that 16 drivers were at risk of being made redundant, though the company has been able to retain them.

An effect of the losses will see the overall number of buses operated from the company’s Intack depot reduced to just over 50.

The services which will cease to operate from 28th August are:

  • 2 – Darwen via The Royal Blackburn Hospital;
  • 3 – Sunnybower;
  • 5A – Outer Circle (anticlockwise);
  • 5C – Outer Circle (clockwise);
  • 8 – Wimberley; and
  • 9 – Revidge.

Services 2, 3, 8 and 9 will be covered by Darwen Coaches.

Peter Graham, Transport Manager at Darwen Coaches, told CBW: “We’ve amalgamated some of them into our existing routes as well as putting on a couple of new services.

“All of the routes will be operated hourly – which is a lower frequency in some cases where the service currently operates every 30 minutes.”

Alex Hornby, CEO of Transdev Blazefield, told CBW: “Trading has been difficult in Blackburn over the last few years with a large amount of disruption in the area.

“However, our £2m investment in new vehicles for the network shows our commitment and dedication to serving the town where we can.

“I can also confirm that no drivers are leaving us as a result of the ceasing services.”