Confusion for bus passengers

Councillor Alan Whittaker, right, with a local resident Phyllis Oulton, who is complaining about the confusion of the new bus routes.
Councillor Alan Whittaker, right, with a local resident Phyllis Oulton, who is complaining about the confusion of the new bus routes.
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Bus users were left puzzled over proposed changes to a route.

Confused passengers did not know whether the changes were taking place.

Bus operator Stagecoach and contractor Lancashire County Council have come under fire.

Councillor Alan Whittaker, who represents Chisnall ward, described it as a “shambles” after receiving complaints.

The situation arose as a result of a proposed railway bridge closure on Chorley Lane, Charnock Richard, involving the number 7 Chorley to Croston and 327 Shevington-Chorley on market days.

Councillor Whittaker outlined: “A leaflet from LCC indicated a route change due to bridge works. The route shown was incorrect. Residents were puzzled by the absence of details, dates, routes.

“On January 20, I asked Stagecoach when? I got a reply on January 26. I pointed out that there were no notices on display.

“I rang LCC, regarding notices. Their response was ‘It’s not happening the bridge works have been cancelled’. I told LCC the bus company was changing the route from next Monday. The response was ‘Oh’.

“I rang the bus company to tell them. The response was ‘LCC haven’t told us. It will be difficult to change now.’

“Stagecoach rang me and said ‘LCC have just told us. Buses will run as normal’. I rang LCC for a comment. None was forthcoming.”

He added: “The result is that residents are angry and confused. The route’s wrong, there are no notices, work’s cancelled - no communication between the left hand and right hand at LCC.

“There are no shops in Charnock Richard and many residents rely on bus service to get into Chorley for shops and banks etc.”

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “Regrettably there has been a misunderstanding over the temporary changes to the number 7 bus route (327 on market days) and we apologise for any confusion or inconvenience this has caused.

“Last November we notified Stagecoach about the proposed bridge closure and everything was put in place to divert the bus services affected.

“However, the planned road closure of Chorley Lane, Charnock Richard from January 25 until May 10 has been postponed due to Network Rail’s continuing electrification works on the main line.

“As a result, the roadworks will be rescheduled for this summer and we will confirm the details as soon as possible.

“All of the current roadside notices are correct, but unfortunately it was too late to change the information that had already been published.”

Elisabeth Tasker, Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said: “Following extensive planning, we updated and revised our schedules in January to ensure that the planned road works in the Chorley area had minimal effect on the services we provide to people living locally.

“After the schedules had changed, we were subsequently informed that the repair works on Bridge Street would no longer be taking place. In light of this, we are running service 7 on its original route – apart from the section which now runs direct via New Lane, not Lydiate Lane. The new bus times will however remain in operation, as this is a legal requirement.

“We are sorry if any passengers have been adversely affected by the most recent changes to the services. Full details of all services we cover are available on our website www.stagecoachbus.com and we have also posted notices of the changes on relevant bus stops. Updates are also available via our Twitter page @StagecoachMCSL.”