Jill Hope

Northamptonshire County Councillor for Sixfields - a Lib Dem campaigner working all year round, not just at election time Learn more

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by Jill Hope on 13 April, 2011

I HAVE RECEIVED a number of emails from local residents concerned about the imminent loss of the 12A service.

This is an evening bus from the bus station to Camp Hill. It only provides three buses, leaving the bus station at 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 10.45pm. Given that the No 12 service ends at 6.45pm, the 12A provides an important service to people like nursing staff at NGH, typically ending their shifts at 7pm. It also provides an evening service for people starting a nightshift.

The three 12A buses will end on 8 May. First Bus is not interested in running this as a commercial service.

For the people who rely on the 12A to get home from work there are very limited options:

1. Catch a bus to Briar Hill and walk through the underpass in the dark – frankly not acceptable to many people, especially women.

2. If you usually catch the 7.30pm 12A service, wait an hour longer in the dark, dreary bus station and catch the number 88 bus, which doesn’t actually stop at Camp Hill though it stops at St Benedicts.

Obviously the County Council doesn’t run buses, following the privatisation under Margaret Thatcher, but does that mean that people could be forced to quit their jobs if they can’t get home from work by bus at a reasonable time, and can’t afford the cost of a taxi every day?

There is one possible solution: there is a new Meridian No 42 service starting from 18 April travelling from Tesco via Hunsbury Hill Road to Briar Hill, then bus station and vice versa. The last bus in this service from the bus station is at 18.17.

Northants County Council is having discussions with Meridian about whether they can run this service any later, to try to replace the 12A. Discussions on-going.

Discussions with First Bus about retaining the No 28 bus as a commercial service are continuing. When there is any firm news about this I will post it here. There is currently no certainty about retaining this bus, not even until September, but equally there is no certainty that it will be scrapped.

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