Bus company cuts popular Northampton route after 'daily income does not even cover the fuel cost'

A public meeting has been called in Northampton in response to residents expressing fears over the withdrawal of a bus service, which serves Links View in Kingsley.

Monday, 4th December 2017, 5:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:58 am
Jeanette Chapman says she will become very isolated without the number 11 bus route.

From December 22, Country Lion will cut the route 11 service, affecting people who live near Fairway, Hazeldene Road, Fulford Drive, Hollingside Drive, Hoylake Drive, Rennishaw Way and Greenview Drive as well as residents who live in the vicinity of Bradlaugh Fields.

One resident, Jeanette Chapman, 72, of Links View will not have access to this service after December 22 and says she will have to consider moving house because she can not afford to pay for taxis to travel into the town centre.

She said: "I'm going to have to put my house up for sale because I can't live in a place where there is no public transport.

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"I don't drive, I lost my husband, the bus is my only option to go out twice a week.

"I can't afford to get a taxi into town. A lot of the old people up my road, they don't have cars."

Jeanette looks forward to getting out of the house twice a week and uses the bus route on a Monday to do a food shop and on Fridays she enjoys meeting her friends for a coffee.

She added: "I'm absolutely gutted, as far as they are concerned, we don't exist in this area. We might as well be on a desert island."

Councillor Cathrine Russell (Lab, Kingsley) is hosting the public meeting on Thursday (December 7) at the Pioneer Public House in Hazeldene Road at 2.30pm.

She said: "This outrageous situation is completely unacceptable. This is why I am calling a public meeting and asking residents to come along to find out what we can do to ensure we get the public transport we need in this area.

"The only way Links View residents will have access to public transport is to walk through Bradlaugh Fields to either St Davids or Kettering Road in the dark and through winter conditions. Alternatively they could walk the one and a half miles to Kenmuir Road, over a rather steep hill.

"I have invited the county council, several bus companies and other interest parties to attend this meeting and hopefully we will be able to find a way forward. I would like to thank the residents who contacted me about this important issue and assure all residents of Kingsley that I will do everything I possibly can to have a bus service reinstated in my ward of Kingsley."

Paul Shaw, transport manager for Country Lion said: "The decision to cut the service 11 has not been taken lightly, however we see no feasible way of generating sufficient income from this route to even cover its costs. Currently we are making a considerable loss on the service daily. We receive no subsidy from the council to operate the number 11 and indeed there is none available, so we therefore have to rely on fare revenue to pay for the service. The current daily income does not even cover the fuel cost.

"Country Lion has 70 employees and the directors and management have a duty of care to ensure that their employment is not jeopardised by operating routes making a loss, we are a commercial enterprise and we therefore rely on our profits for our continued existence.

"We concede that the withdrawal of the service 11 will impact the residents of Links View however all other areas are adequately serviced by other operators."