Passengers face ongoing cancellations on buses across Northampton as driver shortage continues
Stagecoach ask public to 'bear with us' and issues thanks during a 'difficult time'
Numerous bus services in Northampton were cancelled yesterday (Wednesday) due to an ongoing driver shortage in the region.
The service, which is run by Stagecoach Midlands, saw as many as 19 of these services being cancelled mere hours before the buses were meant to arrive.
Affected routes included service 9 and 9a from the Drapery, 96 and 3 from Rugby to Northampton/ Northampton to Rugby, the 16 from Northgate and from Ecton Brook, as well as the X47 from Rounds to Northampton. These came as just the latest series of cancellations taking place over the last few weeks.
It is believed that the leading cause of the cancellations is a lack of qualified bus drivers. Many of which have reportedly jumped ship towards Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV's) because of better pay and lucrative sign-on bonuses, according to the .
While this may be understandable for some, the reduction of services has led to fears that smaller routes will start to feel the squeeze as more popular ones get prioritized.
When asked last week about the shortages, Chris Child, who is Stagecoach Midlands' Marketing Manager, stressed that most services are running as normal.
He said: "The changes really are purely about reliability. There are no frequency reductions taking place.
"While some journeys are lost due to a driver shortage we are still running over 99% of trips. Overall we're coping well with the situation."
But some commuters have disagreed with Mr Child's assessment. In a tweet, Yvonne Horne, whose service was cancelled multiple times in the last few days, said: "Yet again yesterday evening the 5.40pm no 6 service from North Gate to parklands was a no show Not good enough when you only get 1 bus an hour!!"
"I have submitted [a complaints] form but don't hold up much hope of anything happening. Residents have made many complaints over the past about the Parklands service but nothing changes..."
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Stagecoach Midlands said: "Please bear with us. We currently have a driver shortage, but the team are working hard to ensure key services continue to run.
"Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time."