Bus cuts debate hits a dead end

THREATENED rural bus services cannot be saved unless more villagers demonstrate their opposition to the plans, according to parish councillors.

Only one person attended Monday night’s Newnham Parish Council meeting despite asking residents to come along and join in with discussions about Northamptonshire County Council’s bus service cuts.

The county council instead confirmed in its budget that all subsidies for rural buses will be cut, putting several services covering Daventry and the surrounding villages at risk.

Currently the county pays bus companies to run certain services, or certain parts of services, where the demand may not be great enough to make them commercially viable, but where there is some social need.

Parish chairman David Messenger said: “Our village is served by the D7 bus, which I’m told is entirely funded by the county council.

“One resident came along and spoke on behalf of two others, aged 80 and 90, who don’t have a car and can’t afford taxis.

“It’s these type of vulnerable people that you don’t expect to kick up a fuss.”

The council was told that often the bus is seen either empty or near empty.

Cllr Messenger said: “We’ve been asked to respond to these cuts, but that needs to be based on evidence, and only one resident turning up makes it hard.

“Even so, we received no letters or emails on the subject, and with only a few people using it, it’s hard to defend it.”

The parish council have instead now proposed a replacement community ‘dial-a-ride’ type service where people pre-book a seat.