‘Absolutely disgusting’: Residents outraged after Brackley bus timetable changes announced

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Villagers are concerned about their jobs, how to access shops, medical facilities and getting out socially

A two-week notice period of changes to the Stagecoach 500 Brackley-Banbury bus route has been given to appalled bus users in the Brackley area leaving many concerned and anxious.

“Absolutely disgusting, living in a village is difficult enough”, “That’s probably just cost me my job,” and “This change has had little publicity, disgusting” are just some of the angry views across the social media pages, from those affected.

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Stagecoach announced its changes to the 500 Brackley-Middleton Cheney-Banbury service with two weeks notice, to include reducing the frequency of the service on Monday to Saturday by half, ceasing an evening service and ceasing the Sunday service.

This has left villages and users in the area outraged with many now concerned about their jobs, how to access shops, medical facilities and getting out socially.

Parents are also anxious about the school arrival times with these new changes, which is now showing that pupils can either arrive late for school, or an hour before the school opens.

The elderly are advised to check this new timetable as soon as possible as this has not been made available at bus stops or other communications in the village communities, so many will not be aware of the changes taking place from Sunday (August 28)

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When pressed about its unpopular short notice period, Stagecoach tweeted: “Can I refer you to our ‘conditions of carriage’ which you'll find at the bottom of our website homepage. I think this will furnish you with the information that you require.”

Bus time tables are changing in Brackley. (File picture).Bus time tables are changing in Brackley. (File picture).
Bus time tables are changing in Brackley. (File picture).

The south Northants Liberal Democrats have already sent a letter to the Stagecoach company with the hope these changes can be urgently reconsidered.

Rachel Geliamassi managing director of Stagecoach West said: “The 500 service between Brackley and Banbury was, previously, supported with funding from s106 payments from housing developers in the Brackley area.

"This support came to an end in September last year so, with no funding from the local authority, meant the service could only continue if financially viable.

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“As travel needs and habits change, we need to constantly review and adapt our routes. We’ve tried to keep this service running, making changes in September last year but due to low passenger numbers we’ve had to make the difficult decision to reduce the service further.

“From Sunday August 28 the 500 service will now run hourly with no service on Sundays, however the link through Chacombe will be retained.

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“Reducing service is always something that we consider carefully before taking action and we had made West Northamptonshire Council aware of these changes at the start of summer. However, we have had to hold back on announcing these changes until now because we’ve been waiting for various tender awards to be agreed in the Banbury area.”

The bus company is also currently under pressure to look at the bus service times for students trying to access further education at Northampton College. The service running from Towcester to Northampton is causing disruption and late arrivals for students.

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Alison Lydon, a Towcester parent of a Northampton College student said: “With our town ever increasing and our secondary school unable to accommodate all sixth form students, the situation is really unacceptable as they still need to stay in education. They need to look at putting on an earlier service in Towcester and a better timetable for the return journey. Some students even ask to leave their lessons early so they don’t miss the last bus home.”

Residents say: “Both cases highlight how consideration of basic transport amenities to villages and small towns in the south of the county is not being given by Stagecoach. Reduced opportunities and independence, poor links and isolation in some areas is a growing concern and we are keen to highlight the difficulties faced”.

If you would like to forward your own concerns about access and amenities to county villages, and the public bus service in particular, we would love to hear from you. Email: [email protected].