Corby MP says buses are vital lifeline

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Corby MP Andy Sawford has spoken out during a House of Commons debate about the need to safeguard and improve bus services in Corby.

He conducted a survey on services and found less than a quarter of those questioned were happy with the quality and cost of bus travel.

He said: “In Corby and East Northamptonshire, the local county council has cut its subsidy by 55 per cent since 2010 — the largest such cut anywhere in the country.

“At the same time, Northamptonshire County Council has imposed on my constituents a programme of switching off street lights, which has resulted in half of all the lights going out.

“With no buses and no street lights, it is no wonder that many of my constituents have told me that they feel like a prisoner in their own home.”

Mr Sawford said he would raise people’s concerns with Stagecoach and praised the company for addressing issues that have already been highlighted by residents.

One constituent, Ann-Marie Leonard, told the MP: “It’s a real problem that the local buses all finish running by 7pm.

“Unless you use a car or a taxi you can’t go to the theatre, adult education, swimming, tennis club, bingo, Asda late night shopping, visit friends, support elderly relatives – well, anything.”

A county council spokesman said: “The council’s budget for subsidised public transport had been £3.1m and this was used to subsidise conventional bus routes that were not deemed commercially viable. In April 2011, this money was replaced with a new fund of £1.5m which would be used for a variety of solutions to provide subsidised public transport.

“As a result of the changes, more communities had a bus service than before the cuts.”