Children face two hours being added to their school day because of Banbury - Brackley bus service changes

Children face two hours being added to their school day because of changes to the 500 Banbury - Brackley bus service.
Stagecoach's 500 bus service from Banbury to Brackley changes this SundayStagecoach's 500 bus service from Banbury to Brackley changes this Sunday
Stagecoach's 500 bus service from Banbury to Brackley changes this Sunday

The changes are due to be implemented this weekend because of ‘low passenger numbers’.

One mother, whose child has special needs and travels from Middleton Cheney to Brackley to school, said: “This is causing me massive concern at the moment as I only found out about the change at the weekend; we have only been given two weeks’ notice.

"My child uses this bus every day from Middleton to get to school in Brackley. My child is autistic and has ADHD so arriving to Brackley an hour before school starts with no where to go is not really an option. The new timetable also means the return bus would be an hour later.“This is adding two hours onto their day, and with my teenage child's additional needs, it is already a really, long hard day,” she said.”I can’t see how they can say this route is a loss-maker as it is rammed with Chenderit children. When I contacted Stagecoach about this, I was told the timetable stands and wouldn't be reconsidered. We have been given only two weeks’ notice.”

Cllr Kate Nash of Brackkley said the new timetables mean the Monday – Saturday bus frequency will be cut by more than half, it will cease to run an evening service and Sunday buses.

“The 500 bus is for the town of Brackley, and villages of Middleton Cheney and Chacombe - a vital public transport route to access employment, education, retail and leisure,” she said.

In a letter to Stagecoach she said: “We are asking you to urgently reconsider your plans to introduce this new timetable so that any new timetable serves the needs of people whose jobs rely on this service, children getting to school and others dependent on this service.”

Ms Nash said one bus user faces paying a £25 taxi after ending a shift in Banbury at 7pm. Another said they would be unable to get to work at all.

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director, Stagecoach West said: “The 500 service between Brackley and Banbury was previously supported with funding from s106 payments from housing developers in the Brackley area.

"This support came to an end in September last year so with no funding from the local authority meant the service could only continue if financially viable.

“As travel needs and habits change, we need to constantly review and adapt our routes. We’ve tried to keep this service running, making changes in September last year but due to low passenger numbers we’ve had to make the difficult decision to reduce the service further.

“From Sunday, August 28 the 500 service will now run hourly with no service on Sundays, however the link through Chacombe will be retained.

"Reducing service is always something that we consider carefully before taking action and we had made West Northamptonshire Council aware of these changes at the start of summer. However, we have had to hold back on announcing these changes until now because we’ve been waiting for various tender awards to be agreed in the Banbury area.”