Victory for the Chron! Vital Northampton bus route will return in new year for hundreds of stranded residents

Hundreds of residents will once again have the freedom to visit town, see friends and go to the doctors.
Hundreds of residents will once again have the freedom to visit town, see friends and go to the doctors.

Hundreds of Northampton pensioners will get their lifeline to visit town and friends back this January with the return of an axed bus route, thanks to a Chronicle & Echo campaign.

Bus company Uno has announced last night it would restore the vital No 19 Violet bus route to Kingsley and Trinity in the New Year.

The No 19 bus route will return to Kingsley Road in the New Year.

The No 19 bus route will return to Kingsley Road in the New Year.

It will give hundreds of people in St George's Avenue, Kingsley Road and Boughton Green Road the freedom to go shopping, visit friends and take trips to town again.

It comes after a Chronicle & Echo campaign and petition to reinstate the route gathered more than 600 signatures as residents shared how they felt like 'prisoners in their homes' without the No 19.

Jim Thorpe, managing director for Uno Buses, said: “We’re pleased to confirm that we will be reinstating some stops on the 19 route in the New Year, when the service will be redirected so that it passes the University’s St George’s Avenue site.

"The stops served will be those in St George’s Avenue, Kingsley Road, Kingsthorpe shops, Boughton Green Road and then on to the terminus at the University’s Boughton Green Halls.

Over 600 people signed the petition to reinstate the bus service to Kingsley Road.

Over 600 people signed the petition to reinstate the bus service to Kingsley Road.

"We will be providing a half-hourly service, Monday to Friday, and a possible Saturday hourly service is also under review.

"We always listen to passenger feedback, which on this occasion has helped us with our planned January Northampton review. We will release the new timetable as we get closer to the New Year.”

The route was redesigned in August to cut out Kingsley Road and other stops to make a more direct service for the students and staff of the University of Northampton's Waterside Campus. But the axed route proved to be vital to hundreds of Northampton's most needful residents.

Fred Bicknell, 84, from Kingsley Road, played a major part in reinstating the bus route by visiting his neighbours and delivering notes door-to-door to raise awareness of the Chronicle's petition.

Fred said of the news: "It makes me feel wonderful. We've really achieved a big thing here.

"There was such a massive response to the campaign. It makes me so happy."

Another resident, Vera Callahan, said: "I could cry. I'm over the moon. It's fantastic news, I don't know what to say."

The No 19's new timetable will be published by January 2019.