Have your say on dial-a-ride buses


COMMUTERS have until May 27 to have their say on proposals which could see rural areas served by a pre-booked taxi style bus service.

The cost cutting proposals by Northants County Council could also see one of the main services between Brackley and Banbury reduced from six days a week to a twice weekly market day service.

But there might be some good news for people travelling to and from Northampton with proposals to improve the X88. Although details are limited, the changes to the X88 could see an end of the troublesome X88 Walters Coaches connection at Silverstone with Stagecoach run 88.

Geoffrey Glasham, transport manager for Walters Coaches said they have not been told how the service might change but added: “We have been told that the X88 as is stands will stop in September.”

Graham Harris, director of Tex Coaches which operates the 499 and 508 services between Banbury and Brackley confirmed the 508 would be reduced from a 6 day-a-week service to a twice weekly market day service to Banbury on a Thursday and Saturday and added: “It would not run on those days that are not subsidised, it just can’t.”

Mr Harris said the 508 is well used along the southern section through Kings Sutton but the route was not commercially viable without subsidy along the northern Greatworth and Culworth section.

Mr Harris said those services which receive subsides are used by the most vulnerable people in the community and added: “The biggest problem is that it is mainly concessionary passengers, OAPs and people, and that’s the money which is going down. The amount we get has actually already gone down, which makes it even less viable.”

Mr Harris said previous dial-a-ride experiments with the 508 had failed and added: “It is exactly what people don’t want, but the Government have made mistakes with spending and it is the people who will have to pay.”

Heather Smith, NCC cabinet member for highways said the council has to save an enormous amount of money over the next four years and added: “There’s is no doubt that the traditional way of providing public transport was becoming inefficient and an overhaul of the system was badly needed.”

Consultation events will be held at Brackley Town Hall on Friday, May 13 between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, and Towcester Town Hall on Wednesday, May 18 between 2pm and 4pm.