Use it or lose it plea as 'lifeline' Kettering bus trial enters last month

A grant is due to run out and a review will take place to see whether the services will keep running
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‘Lifeline’ weekly bus routes which connect Kettering with nearby villages could end unless they are better supported, it has been warned.

CommMiniBus has issued a ‘use it or lose it’ plea over their Kettering Catcher services, with a trial period set to enter its last month.

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They were introduced in July to give shoppers in communities with no off-peak services the option of public transport. The social enterprise received community grants which aimed to kickstart the service before sufficient usage could be generated.

Regular Kettering Catcher passengersRegular Kettering Catcher passengers
Regular Kettering Catcher passengers

But a grant from North Northamptonshire Council is due to run out at the end of the year and CommMiniBus is due to undergo a review to decide whether or not they will keep running the services without external support.

Founder and director Ka Chun Li said: “We’re thankful for the support of our lovely passengers and the last thing we want to see is cutting back the service and leave them stranded in the village again.

"However, we do need more support from the communities to make it financially sustainable.”

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The social enterprise added that the services have become the lifelines of a group of keen passengers but that it was ‘disappointing’ that the bus has never picked up anyone from some of the villages it serves.

Additional communities served by the Friday-only services include Thorpe Malsor, Loddington, Great Cransley, Little Cransley and Pytchley (by Service 78B/C to and from Kettering) and Hannington, Holcot, Sywell, Overstone, Overstone Gate and Moulton (by pre-booked service 78D to Weston Favell Shopping Centre).

One regular passenger, named as Pam, said: “The minibus gives me back my independence and time to do my shopping, while other organised trips CommMiniBus runs give me other options and time to have lunch out.

“I used to have to depend on family taking me out and this can be time limited for some travellers. Our driver is helpful and informative about the trips. Long may this service continue if people out there use this service, save on petrol, get out and about, meet new friends and see different places.”

To book a journey click here.