Bus boss: Northampton's inner-ring road 'chaos' is being caused by cars taking cross-town shortcuts

The backlog of buses in the Drapery on Monday were a result of gas works in Horse Market.

The backlog of buses in the Drapery on Monday were a result of gas works in Horse Market.

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The boss of Northampton's biggest bus operator has called for vehicles to be banned from entering the town centre's inner ring road after two days of traffic chaos.

Managing director of Stagecoach Midlands, Steven Burd, says constant clog-ups are bad for customers and bad for business. But he believes the siting of North Gate bus station is not to blame for the now regular traffic woes in town.

The boss of Stagecoach Midlands says non-public transport vehicles are to blame for the snarl ups on the inner ring road.

The boss of Stagecoach Midlands says non-public transport vehicles are to blame for the snarl ups on the inner ring road.

Over the past two days works to repair a gas pipe opposite Sol Cental in Horse Market have caused major delays around the inner ring road - with some customers reporting having to wait in a bus in the Drapery for up to an hour.

Currently, the slightest blockage on the road network is creating peak-time snarl-ups that can last for hours at a time.

Speaking to the Chronicle and Echo yesterday, Mr Burd said action needs to be taken to stop cars cutting across town.

He said: "Our view is simply that the road system around the centre can't deal with it at peak times. When there is a minor problem in the system - like a traffic light going out - we get total chaos.

"The fact is there is a significant amount of traffic using those roads not to access the town centre - but on a cross-town journey.

"What needs to be done is something to stop the inner ring road being used as the only method of travel."

He said the key to that would be preventing "certain vehicles" from using the roads around the bus station at certain times.

Currently, regular road users are not allowed to drive down The Drapery and loading is not permitted between the hours of 10am and 4pm. But the rule is often flouted with many feeling a harder line needs to be taken.

In November one of Mr Burd's own drivers called on the borough council to install number plate recognition cameras on The Drapery in an interview with the Chron.

Mr Burd said he has started discussions with the borough and county council on introducing a vehicle ban and is hoping to have something resolved by later in the year.