Fears cuts to subsidies could see closure of bus service between Brackley and Banbury

Banbury area 499 bus service petition. Christina Elmes and Bernard Grenville-Jones, Head of Campus with the petition, at Banbury and Bicester College, Banbury. NNL-180130-144755009
Banbury area 499 bus service petition. Christina Elmes and Bernard Grenville-Jones, Head of Campus with the petition, at Banbury and Bicester College, Banbury. NNL-180130-144755009

Commuters who rely on the 499 bus service to get to work and school are fearful for the service’s future.

Northants County Council (NCC) is consulting on its budget for 2018/19 which includes plans to remove bus subsidies for local services, to save £1.053 million. A decision on the budget will be made by cabinet on February 13 and full council on February 22.

Among the services which could be affected by the proposals is the 499 between Brackley and Banbury, which passes through Evenley, Croughton, Charlton and King’s Sutton.

Christina Elmes, from Croughton, uses the service to get to her job at Banbury and Bicester College and has set up a petition on change.org to save the service, which has so far attracted nearly 400 signatures. She said: “I rely on the service and if the buses stopped running, I don’t know how I would manage to do my job. We have college students that go on the bus and there are students that go to Chenderit School on that bus.”

A spokesman for Northants County Council said: “Faced with an unprecedented increase in demand for council services, coupled with significant reductions in funding, tough decisions are needed in order to deliver a balanced budget and achieve £34.3m of budget savings in 2018/19 by reviewing funding of all non-statutory services.

“This includes a proposal to remove all money paid to support a number of bus routes across Northamptonshire, including the number 499 service.”

The proposal would also affect the on-demand County Connect South Northants service. The 499 is operated by Heyfordian.

To sign the petition, visit the petition’s webpage