Vic link boost for Fylde passengers

Coastal Coaches' new 77 route will go to Victoria Hospital
Coastal Coaches' new 77 route will go to Victoria Hospital

New and extended services being introduced from Monday are set to provide a boost to Fylde bus users.

St Annes will gain a direct bus service to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, while Lytham and St Annes and various other Fylde locations will be linked directly to Poulton for the first 
time.

The new 77 and 78 services by Freckleton-based Coastal Coaches follow bus cutbacks by Lancashire County Council, which has been forced to reduce subsidies for many rural services due to a massive cut in its Government funding.

One such service was the 76, between Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Fylde villages – and Coastal Coaches owners Bill and Helen Holder have tailored the new and extended routes to go some way to replacing that.

From next Monday, April 4, service 77 will provide a direct service from St Annes Square to Blackpool Victoria Hospital via Spring Gardens, various key locations in Marton and the Whitegate Drive NHS drop-in centre.

Meanwhile, the existing 78 will be extended to run between St Annes, Ansdell, Lytham, Warton, Freckleton, Kirkham, Wesham, Elswick, Great Eccleston and Poulton.

Mr Holder said: “We are delighted to be giving St Annes a direct link to the Vic for the first time, while the extension to the service 78 route to call at Greenhalgh, Elswick, Great Eccleston and Poulton ensures customers in those locations will not be left stranded without the 76 service as well as providing the first direct bus link to Poulton from Lytham, St Annes, Warton and Freckleton.”

One 78 in the mornings and one at the end of the day will run to Blackpool Sixth Form College to offer a service to the estimated 35 rural students who go there.

Every other 78 will terminate at Wesham, with the others carrying on to Poulton.

However, the 78 will no longer run in the evening, on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Mr Holder said as this service has lost all its subsidy then it could only be funded by its passengers and there were not enough at these times to run a service.