SAVE OUR BUSES: Scrapping Kettering service will leave elderly stranded

Passengers queue for the Brambleside bus.
Passengers queue for the Brambleside bus.

The elderly will be ‘stuck inside their own homes’ when a busy Kettering bus is scrapped next month, according to one passenger.

The Stagecoach 34 (Brambleside to Wellingborough) is one of more than 10 services being axed on July 22 after Northamptonshire County Council withdrew their subsidies.

The Brambleside bus outside the Newlands Centre.

The Brambleside bus outside the Newlands Centre.

Anita Porteous, who lives in Pennine Way, uses the bus every day to pop into town and says the upcoming closure has left her worried sick.

Mrs Porteous has arthritis, cannot drive and physically cannot walk the three-mile round-trip to the town centre.

She said: “I just don’t know what I’m going to do when it stops.

“It’s making me sick with worry.

“I’ve got family and friends who can take me if needs be but you don’t want to rely on others to get into town.”

Mrs Porteous is running a petition against the closure on the bus, which she says is ‘rammed full’ in the morning.

She added that she’d be willing to pay to use the bus rather than use a bus pass but it has never been on the table and that the route being axed could lead to the elderly being stuck indoors.

She said: “If there’s no bus what are we meant to do? Sit inside all day?

“We live in Kettering and we’re going to be stuck indoors.

“I cannot drive and struggle to walk, I just about manage to get to the bus stop by the Beeswing.

“I cannot walk into town and I certainly won’t be able to in the cold winter months.”

She added that she worries for the future of Kettering’s town centre if the elderly are unable to get a bus in.

A replacement of off-peak journeys for Pytchley, Orlingbury and Little Harrowden, which would have been served by the 34 bus, is under review.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Faced with an unprecedented increase in demand for council services and reductions in funding, tough decisions are needed in order to deliver a balanced budget.

“We have had no choice but to make the difficult decision to review funding of all non-statutory services.

“This includes removing all money paid to support a number of bus routes across Northamptonshire.”

Labour’s Mick Scrimshaw, who sits on Northamptonshire County Council, says the money saved by the move will be disproportionate to the effect it will have on residents.

He said: “Councils have a responsibility to provide public services and part of that is to provide transport for people that need it.

“They can choose not to do it which is what they [the county council] have done.

“But that will leave a big gap for some of the most vulnerable people, the disabled, the elderly, the ones that don’t have cars.

“It’s a short-term measure to save a few quid, and if you look at the budgets it is only a few quid, but it is disproportionate to the effect it will have on local people.”

Beth Miller, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Corby, has set up a petition against the cuts which has gained more than 1,000 signatures.

To view it, click here.