Anger as Wellingborough bus axed

Carol Atter, Pamela Young and Brenda Garnham on the W3 bus route
Carol Atter, Pamela Young and Brenda Garnham on the W3 bus route

Pensioners are worried about how they will get into town now the regular bus service to their estate has stopped.

Bus company Centrebus has been running the W3 bus service from the Kingsway estate in Wellingborough into the town centre, but it came to an end on Monday.

Stagecoach has agreed to run the service on a limited timetable temporarily but residents and pensioners, including Carol Atter who used the service regularly, say they are stuck in their homes.

Mrs Atter said: “We had problems with this route a few years ago and had to fight for about 18 months to get it back.

“Now we’ve had it for a year and it’s stopped again. We are prisoners in our homes.”

The route used to be funded by the county council, but this stopped in April 2011. In September 2011 Centrebus agreed to run the service, but off-peak only.

In October 2012, Wellingborough Council said it would provide funding to enable Centrebus to run peak-time buses in the hope the route would become viable. It hasn’t and the funding has stopped.

A council spokesman said: “Councillors agreed to subsidise the W3 route for just over a year.

“The borough council has no duty to subsidise bus routes, but we agreed to help out for a limited period so that the commercial viability of the route could be assessed, with the possibility of a bus company taking on a full timetable when our support ended.

“Our grant funding ceased on January 11.

“We have supported the residents throughout their campaign, and continue to meet them and liaise with the county council on their behalf, but we simply don’t have the money to subsidise this route indefinitely.”

Centrebus commercial director David Shelley said the company had found the route wasn’t viable without any funding.