Bus crisis leaves Corby passengers waiting for answers

Cancellations across the Stagecoach bus network have caused problems for customers

By Alison Bagley
Friday, 29th October 2021, 7:03 am

A Corby man who has to rely on buses to travel to medical appointments has expressed his concerns about the number of services that have been cancelled in the town.

Ramsey Walker who has foot ulcers as a result of diabetes, uses Stagecoach buses from his home near Shetland Way to get to the town centre and connections for other routes.

He was left waiting by the side of the road for forty minutes as two consecutive buses failed to show up, despite his smart phone app saying the bus was due.

George Street buses - file picture

And to make sure he made his appointment at the One Stop Shop in time, he had to call a taxi which cost him £4 although he has a free bus pass due to his disability.

Mr Walker, 58, said: "I am deeply concerned, not just for me but for others who rely on the bus services.

"I can't stand for long and I can't walk that far so I have a bus pass to catch the bus. I waited for one bus and it didn't come. The next one was due in 20 minutes so I waited. That didn't turn up although the app on my phone said it was coming. I waited another 20 minutes. In the end I got a taxi. On the way down Studfall Avenue I saw an old lady waiting at the bus stop.

"People can't be kept waiting. My feet are dodgy.

Tweets have been sent out to tell customers of the service changes

"Usually the service is good but in the last month I have been waiting for buses that don't turn up and the timetable has changed so instead of five buses an hour there's only three."

Over the past week Mr Walker has had to call another taxi to make sure he made an appointment and has been leaving an hour earlier than he would do normally to make sure he's not late for scans and tests.

He said: "Trying to get to appointments now takes the whole day. I rely on each bus connection. If it doesn't turn up I'm stuck. I have the app but I have been told the information isn't added there but on the website or Twitter. I don't have Twitter.

"I have been told that the bus company is 15 drivers short. I sent them an email and they replied saying they were trying to recruit drivers."

A spokesman for Stagecoach Midlands said: "Our teams are working incredibly hard to ensure we continue to run the vast majority of our timetabled services and we remain focused on prioritising the services we know are most important for our customers.

“As is the case with many organisations and sectors in the economy, the pandemic is continuing to impact our business. Issues such as Brexit and the DVLA taking longer to process bus driver licences has added to these challenges beyond our control.

“We are working round the clock to recruit people into our team and train them in the roles that we need, and we are seeing a strong demand for jobs. However, it takes an average of 10 weeks for a professional bus driver to be fully trained and any delays outside our control in the processing of licences means we cannot get them on the road on our network as fast as we would like.

“We apologise to our customers who have been affected by any short term service changes, and we would like to thank them for their patience with our frontline teams whilst we work to get our new drivers on the road.

“Where we do have to make changes to our bus services, we are providing live updates to our customers through our social media channels.

"If a customer has encountered a problem, then we would ask them to email our customer service team ([email protected]) who will be able to investigate the issue."