'It's my lifeline': Kettering estate's bus service set to be axed

It’s being withdrawn at the end of the month
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Those living on a Kettering estate say their bus service is a lifeline as it faces the axe.

For years residents of the Counties estate, which includes Northumberland Road, Sussex Road and Hertford Road, have been able to travel into town on Stagecoach’s service 2 bus.

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But from October 30 the service – which also serves Venture Park – will be withdrawn after the operator announced a number of changes following a review of its network.

A service 2 bus stop in Northumberland RoadA service 2 bus stop in Northumberland Road
A service 2 bus stop in Northumberland Road

Buses will no longer serve Northumberland Road and passengers will instead have to travel to Pytchley Road to catch the X4 – but it won’t be an easy walk for the elderly and disabled.

Jean Pettitt, who has arthritis in both hips and uses a stroller when walking, has lived on the estate for 19 years.

She said: "It's really important that we have a bus. It's my lifeline and has been a godsend.

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"I'm not that fast so I'm going to have to leave at least 20 minutes earlier to get across to the main road.

"I'm certainly not going to be using taxis, they're too expensive. I'm really surprised they've decided to do this."

Riza Noka moved to the UK from Albania 23 years ago and has lived on the estate for three years.

His wife uses the bus to pick their children up from school, go into town and go to their GP surgery.

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He said: "It's not good. This estate has old people and parents with small children who need it.

"It's better to use a bus than a car but now the bus is going."

And estate resident Jakkie Linnell said: "It would be a real pain if I lost the use of my car and had to rely on a bus service.

"I remember the days before I drove and it was a nightmare. If you have young children it would be completely impossible."

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The section of the route around Highfield Road will now be covered by service 50.

Service 2 is one of dozens across Northamptonshire which are either being withdrawn, merged or altered by Stagecoach.

They say changes to how people travel since the Covid pandemic, rising costs and the availability of staff – having cancelled hundreds of journeys over the past year – have all played a part in their decision.

Mark Whitelocks, managing director of Stagecoach Midlands, said: “In consultation with the councils, we have reviewed services and the changes being made are designed to ensure the network is more sustainable as we move forward.

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“The pandemic has changed how and when people travel. For some the need to commute daily has changed and our choices about how to shop and where we meet with family and friends has also changed. We have to reflect those changes in our network as well as the realities of the changes in the economy that are impacting the cost of running bus routes and the availability of staff to drive and maintain our fleet.

“Its now time for us to make some changes to our services and the alterations in October will enable service to run more reliably which will help us deliver better services for our customers.”

For the full list of changes across Northamptonshire click here.

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