Following Northamptonshire County Council’s cancellation of the 499 bus service last month, representatives from Aynho, Charlton, Croughton, Evenley and King’s Sutton are meeting to discuss whether a community bus service might be feasible.
OurBus Bartons, based in Middle Barton and serving the various villages in that area, may offer a template for such a service. It was established in 2016 by a group of dedicated volunteers in response to cuts that left their local communities without public transport, and facing the twin spectres of rural isolation and stagnation. OurBus Bartons now provides a scheduled weekday bus service along nine routes linking local communities with transport hubs in larger villages, health centres and supermarkets. Click here for more information on OurBus Bartons.
Parish councils representing villages affected by the loss of the 499 bus are keen to find a way of facilitating at least a partial replacement for the service. However, they recognise that the “community bus” approach will only work if there are sufficient volunteers prepared to act as drivers, administrators, timetable schedulers, etc. Driver training would also have to be made available.
It is not within the remit of these parish councils (nor affordable for them) to develop such a resource themselves. However, acting on behalf of residents, they’re encouraging volunteers who are willing to take on the initiative. Any King’s Sutton resident interested in helping out should contact the parish clerk in the first instance, giving their contact details and indicating what they might be prepared to do.
The parish clerk can be contacted:
Click here to contact the parish clerk by email.