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The 12A saga – is it being used as a political football?

by Jill Hope on 1 April, 2011

AMONG THE LIST of subsidised buses under threat shown in the Chronicle and Echo recently was the No. 12A. It will end on 8 May.

This is a night bus from the town centre to Camp Hill. The last No. 12 bus leaves the bus station at 18.45. The 12A then provides four additional buses for people coming home from late daytime shifts or getting to work if they work a nightshift.

A local resident who is a nurse at Northampton General Hospital has told me that she doesn’t feel safe catching a bus to Briar Hill and walking through the underpass in the dark.

Who can blame her? But once the 12A ends on 8 May she has no acceptable way of getting home.

Her shift finishes at 7pm and she has been catching the 19.30 12A bus which she says is three-quarters full.

How will all those workers going home from late shift, or on their way to a night shift, get to and from work?

Don’t forget that it is the County Council’s Conservatives who have abruptly terminated most of the subsidies they used to pay the bus companies.

Having failed to make financial preparation for bad times, they are having to cut so much – lollipop ladies and gentlemen, grants to voluntary organisations, up to 900 jobs, road safety cameras and lights across the county.

The subsidy for the 12A can’t be that large, as it is only four buses on a fairly short route.

Is it possible that having declared the service cut, the Conservatives will try to buy votes by miraculously finding enough money to retain this particular service?

Call me cynical but don’t forget the saying: ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’.

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