Scheme that logs late and cancelled Northampton buses could hold Stagecoach to account

Stagecoach admits to ongoing problems with the X10 service
Stagecoach admits to ongoing problems with the X10 service

A Northampton parish council is encouraging residents to report tardy or no-show bus services to its clerk, and help force improvements if required.

West Hunsbury Parish Council will discuss the idea at a meeting this evening (Thursday) as it seeks to gather evidence of recent poor service by Stagecoach.

The X10 - which runs between Kettering and West Hunsbury via Northampton town centre - has been complained about consistently over the summer. Reports of buses arriving 45 minutes late to the Drapery or failing to show up at all have left would-be passengers fuming, especially given there are no live update boards on West Hunsbury bus stops.

Despite a revamp of the route in mid-August, instances of buses not arriving persisted in the last few days of the month.

Richard Matthews, chair of West Hunsbury Parish Council, said he wished to map the scale of the reliability problems, and encouraged other parishes to do the same.

He said: "The only way people can complain at the moment is to go through Stagecoach. They get an answer about that instance but that's the end of it.

"This is a way of gathering evidence and, if there's a wider problem there, getting it addressed. If they don't do it to our satisfaction, we can take further action."

Councillor Matthews, a former Northampton Borough councillor, said there was a precedent for forcing changes following poor service as the borough council had successfully brought First Bus before the Traffic Commissioner.

"They almost had their licence revoked over it," he said. "If it turns out there is a problem and Stagecoach don't resolve it, that's obviously the ultimate action.

"This isn't about doing the bus company down, it's about making sure people don't get a second-rate service."

Posters publicising the scheme and listing the parish council clerk's contact details will go up at bus stops across West Hunsbury if the scheme is approved this evening (Thursday).

Stagecoach said some of the reliability issues with the X10 are being caused by ongoing roadworks at the northern end of its route.

A spokesman said: "Route X10 has been badly affected by a series of roadworks both on the A43 and more seriously in Kettering around Eskdaill Street and Newland Street. Therefore earlier this week we adjusted our routing in Kettering to divert away from those roads to improve reliability.

"This has dramatically improved the situation although not totally eliminated it. Roadwork's are due to continue in Kettering until December 2."