Five bus routes in Northamptonshire could be cut after county council removes funding

Five bus routes could face the axe in Northamptonshire as the county council looks to reduce the amount it pays for public transport by £200,000 this year.

Northamptonshire County Council is looking to reduce the amount it pays for bus subsidies - by cutting funding to five routes.
Northamptonshire County Council is looking to reduce the amount it pays for bus subsidies - by cutting funding to five routes.

On Thursday finance chiefs at the authority gave details of around £65 million worth of cuts to the 2016/17 budget.

As part of the sweeping savings, the council is looking to save £200,000 this coming financial year from reducing the amount it gives to outside operators to run bus services.

It has now revealed the routes it wants to stop funding to are:

Service W4 : Wellingborough town centre – rail station – Isebrook Hospital – town centre

Service 7 : The Lawns – Corby town centre – Exeter estate – ASDA

Service 8 : Silverstone – Brackley – Oxfordshire boundary section

Service 67 : Rockingham - Gretton – Corby section (Monday – Friday peak and Saturday)

Service 125 : Hargrave – Rushden – Wellingborough

These routes may not stop altogether as the private companies which run them - Centrebus Midlands, Addison Travel, Stagecoach and Carter’s Travel - may consider funding the routes themselves.

However the subsidy cut are part of the council’s long-term plan to provide transport in ways - other than through the familiar single and double decker buses, which it claims are a big cost to the taxpayer.

Details of the move to set up its new “Total Transport” model are currently vague , but a detailed business plan is set to be drawn up by the autumn.

Whatever Total Transport means, the council claims the new model will save it £1 million every year from 2017/18 and has already won £750,000 of government funding to look into ways of making it happen.

Cabinet member for transport, Councillor Michael Clarke, said: “The traditional way of providing public transport needs to change to keep pace with the way we want to make journeys now and in the future.

“Not only is the current model costly but it is also inefficient when you consider how congested our roads can be, particularly at peak hours.

“We will be examining opportunities for staggered working hours and how their introduction might help with the problems of historic rush hour congestion.

“And while we can’t promise an immediate solution I do think it’s important that we start finding a way that not only works but that is also cost-effective as Northamptonshire’s population continues to grow.

“We have twin objectives of creating a variety of transport options to meet the changing needs of the travelling public while achieving substantial cost savings to the council.”