05 May 2011

Temporary changes are being made to bus services in Northamptonshire from next week, as a result of service amendments by bus firm Stagecoach.

The changes will be introduced from May 8 and will be focused on the Kettering, Northampton, Oundle and Wellingborough areas.

The changes include a mixture of timetable and route alterations, the use of community transport schemes and different bus companies taking over the running of some routes.

The full list of changes can be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/buschanges

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, said: “We’re currently reviewing how we provide public transport in the county but no changes were going to be introduced until September so that everyone had time to have their say on proposals and get used to the new system.

“With the service changes that were proposed we would have been left with a situation where there would have been a gap in the provision of public transport in some areas for four months.

“We’ve had to work very quickly to find these stop-gap measures. If they prove to be successful and cost-effective they could well be used in the future.”

Northamptonshire County Council is currently carrying out a review of how public transport is provided in the county.

In a bid to save £73 million in this financial year the authority has changed the way it funds public transport.

Previously the council paid £3.1 million annually to subsidise bus routes which were not commercially viable.

But the council is currently examining how a budget of £1 million can be used so that a mix of traditional bus services, community transport and innovative demand response services can serve the people of Northamptonshire.

Currently proposals are being consulted on and the council plans to bring any changes in from September.