New evening bus links start this week in West Lancs

People in West Lancashire will have better options to travel by bus during the evening thanks to new links launching this week.

The timetable for the 310 Service from Skelmersdale to Liverpool via Ormskirk and Maghull will be extended in the evenings, Monday to Saturday, to operate beyond Maghull,  continuing onto  Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. It will also run the full route between Liverpool, Ormskirk and Skelmersdale on Sundays. These extended evening and Sunday services will run every hour and start from Sunday 23 July 2023.

Commercial bus services already cover much of Skelmersdale during the evenings, but a new service is also being launched to fill a gap in the north-east of the town.

The 313 Service will operate between the town centre, Birch Green and Ashurst every hour during the evening Monday to Saturday, as well as during the daytime on Sundays, ensuring good connections are available throughout the town.  This new service will also start from Sunday 23 July. There will be no changes to the existing 313 Service which operates during the daytime from Monday to Saturday.

County Councillor Scott Smith, Lancashire County Council lead member for highways and active travel, said: "Thanks to the funding we've received from government for our Bus Service Improvement Plan we're making some big improvements to bus services in Lancashire to encourage people to make more journeys by bus, and reduce people's reliance on their cars.

"One of the ways we're working towards this is to identify where there is currently unmet demand, and we can fill that gap by ensuring people have a service available.

"Improving connections during evenings and on Sundays extends the option of using the bus to people who want to travel at these times, whether they work late shifts, are visiting friends, or going out for an evening's entertainment.

"We'll be working closely with operators to build passenger numbers with the aim of making these services commercially sustainable over the long term, and I'd encourage everyone to support them."

The new services have been made possible thanks to funding received from HM Government in support of Lancashire's £34.1m Bus Service Improvement Plan, and will be operated by Arriva North-West in partnership with Lancashire County Council.

Lancashire's Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), a partnership between Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, and bus operators, is delivering a range of improvements to make services more frequent, reliable and affordable with the support of the Department for Transport.

The Service 319 Trainlink from Skelmersdale to Kirkby for onward connections by train to Liverpool which launched in January 2023 has also been delivered as part of the BSIP.

Roads Minister Richard Holden added: People up and down the country deserve a modern, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we have provided Lancashire County Council with more than £34 million to boost its bus services.

"Supporting local bus operators with providing more services across three key local routes is great for local residents, who will now be able to get around more easily and make the most of the fantastic work and leisure opportunities Lancashire has to offer."