Congratulations to Cllr Brian Newman and his wife Lynne on becoming Pendle’s 48th Mayor & Mayoress, for the year ahead. I was pleased to attend Mayoral Sunday to see Brian, who represents the Fence & Higham ward, take over from Cllr Yasser Iqbal. He will have Bradley wards’ Cllr Mohammad Aslam serving as the Deputy Mayor.
I was really pleased to see that the Mayoress’ Charity Appeal Fund will be supporting several important local charities, such as Pendle and Rossendale Mountain Rescue, Curry on the Street and the Autistic Society. I hope they will see a boost in support as a result.
Last week, I met with Paul Turner, the Commercial Director for bus company Transdev. This was to discuss local residents’ concerns about the company’s decision to replace the Pendle Wizz service with the Mainline M6. Many will have had to endure overcrowded services, especially for those getting on in Barnoldswick, because of the change. There are also ongoing concerns about reliability, with buses often cancelled at short notice or running late.
Paul assured me that Transdev are monitoring the impact of the changes to see where improvements are required and how they can alleviate the issues bus users are facing. There are more pupils due to start at schools in Skipton and at West Craven in September, and I explained my concern the problem may worsen then. The government’s £2 cap on bus fares, which was recently extended until October will also be seeing more people using buses to get about. This policy, to help bus users with cost of living pressures, has been very popular and helped the recovery in passenger numbers post-Covid-19.
Transdev have already made some changes and recognise more will need to be done in the coming weeks to provide a satisfactory service. We talked about options such as using a double decker to offer more capacity for the school rush hour and putting on an additional ‘relief’ service to manage numbers at peak times. I welcome these proposed actions, but they need to happen as soon as possible, as many local bus users remain deeply dissatisfied. I will be staying in regular contact with Transdev until we see improvements made.