Bus station signs farce

Electronic timetable at Chorley bus station
Electronic timetable at Chorley bus station
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Mystery surrounds whether Chorley bus station’s computerised timetables are on or off.

The timetables were turned off at the Interchange in December as part of Lancashire County Council’s bid to save more than £40,000.

But passengers have noticed the screens are still displaying the digital clock, even though the up-to-date travel information is no longer uploaded.

MP Lindsay Hoyle, who launched a petition to save bus services being axed in the borough, said: “There have been a lot of complaints about the signs being switched off, and I don’t think it’s saving a great amount of money.

“People kept asking staff where to get the buses from, so they actually turned the boards back on with a notice to direct people to look at the poster timetables on the walls. I don’t understand the point in that.

“Why didn’t they just turn the electronic timetables back on?”

The information display systems cost £150,000 to install in 2003, but LCC announced it will save £47,000 over two years by withdrawing funding for those at five bus stations across the county. People are now confused as to why they are still using electricity to display the time and notices in Chorley.

Coun Ralph Snape, who also campaigned to save some of Chorley’s bus services with wife Joyce, said: “It’s ridiculous because it seems like the council must be saving peanuts at the detriment of keeping members of the public informed.

“I don’t know how the money is being saved if the signs are still using electricity; it’s madness.

“It cost a fortune to install the boards, so the council should take up the running costs too.”

He added: “There are poster timetables at the entrance to each bus stop, but the writing is so small that a lot of older people can’t read them. It’s confusing because you have to read each one before you know which bus is going to arrive at which stop.”

Malcolm Barron, lead member for buses at LCC, responded: “The saving is being made as a result of not renewing the contract with the supplier that manages and maintains the overall system, not as a result of switching off the electricity use for the signs.

“If we were to have kept the signs running it is likely that a new contract would have cost over £70,000 as a new back office system would be required, and some of the older monitors across the county need to be replaced.”

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