Corby residents’ long wait for Old Village buses

The X4 bus
The X4 bus

Residents of Corby Old Village have appealed to bus company Stagecoach to reconsider urgently a decision to miss out their part of town from routes.

Stagecoach’s X4 service used to pass through High Street and The Jamb but when Cottingham Road Railway Bridge was being re-built, the buses stopped stopping.

Corby Old Village

Corby Old Village

The bridge closure dragged on from January 2018 for 16 months, finally re-opening fully to two-way traffic on May 3, 2019.

Corby Old Village Neighbourhood Association (COVNA) has now pleaded for help for distressed residents, reliant on public transport, unable to get into town.

Group secretary Beverley Blackburn said: “The lack of buses in Corby Old Village is still a major issue for our residents and causing a great deal of distress.

“Residents coped with the closure for nine months and assumed that the bus service would be restored when the bridge completion happened - but it hasn’t.

“Corby Old Village is part of Corby town and the area is the only part of Corby that is not served by a bus service - residents feel they are being discriminated against.

“It is causing serious distress for some of our residents.

“The demographic of Corby Old Village is a high proportion of elderly people, who rely on public transport for getting out and about, to the doctors and to the town centre.”

The COVNA meeting on July 1 heard from an 88-year-old resident who said she had stopped going out and about and was experiencing feelings of isolation and depression.

Despite the X4 showing on the timetable that its route passes through the Old Village, the only bus stopping is a weekly Friday service organised by COVNA last month.

Lawson Buses, which picks up in the nearby villages, diverted its bus service on a Friday to pick up residents.

Another pensioner on a low income, whose husband who has dementia and lives in a Northampton care home, has to pay for a taxi to the bus stop for her twice-weekly visits.

Beverley added: “Ian Campbell from Stagecoach attended our open meeting in March and stated that the X4 would not be re-routed until the Oundle bridge project is completed, but agreed that he would be investigating a loop bus service schedule and the review would take eight weeks, so we agreed that he would be invited to our July meeting to update residents.

“We did invite him to our July meeting but his response was that ‘there is really no point in coming as nothing has changed. The X4 timetable won’t be revisited until early part of 2020 and the loop bus service schedule didn’t happen. What a disappointing response from Stagecoach’.”

COVNA also contacted taxi firms to see if they would offer a service, but they were unable to help and accept the OAP concessionary bus passes.

Centre Buses agreed to take OAP bus passes, but its bus times were not displayed at the bus stop making it tricky for those not online.

Ironically, the Stagecoach bus depot is located in Station Road, about 0.2 miles from The Jamb bus stops.

Residents have witnessed a constant stream of buses marked ‘Sorry - not in Service’ which make their way to the depot.

Northamptonshire County Councillor Sandra Naden-Horley, who represents Corby Rural, said: “ I do think that the residents of the Old Village are being discriminated against and the lack the ability to access Corby Town Centre and other areas is causing social isolation for the most vulnerable residents.”