Safety fears for passengers have been raised over the evening closure times of Accrington bus station.
The revamped £4.6m ‘George Slynn’ facility on Crawshaw Street closes to the public at 10pm - or 9pm on Sundays - after which buses use an outdoor stop. Access to Union Street is then blocked and bus users have to walk around the building via King Street to wait for later buses.
Brian Roberts, of Oswaldtwistle, a former councillor for St Oswalds, catches the bus from Accrington to Oswaldtwistle two or three times a week, mainly in the evenings.
He said: “Passengers after these times have to stand outside the bus station in all weather and also lone passengers feel vulnerable, including passengers waiting for the overnight London bus,” he said.
Coun Peter Britcliffe, who represents Oswaldtwistle on LCC, has called for the council to address the issue.
He said: “I have spoken to a number of people who have raised concerns about closing times of the new bus station.
“People have to stand outside the bus stops, but find it difficult to access as the entrance from Union Street is closed.
“As a result they have to walk all the way round to get their buses.
“This is particularly difficult for elderly people and will be even more difficult in winter. I would have thought the safest place for them at that time of night would be inside a well-lit, supervised bus station.”
Andrew Varley, public transport manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “There are only a small number of services after 10pm each night. Staffing the station for these few services would increase the running costs.
“As this new bus station has only been open a few weeks, we feel that it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions, but we will keep an eye on the situation and the suitability of the opening hours.”
Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, added: “Extensive consultation was undertaken in the development of the bus station, which has been widely supported by all members of the community.
“There is no evidence that many elderly people use the bus services after 10pm in the evening and the bus operators would be really concerned that they would be expected to cover the cost of keeping the bus station open.”