''On-Demand'' Bus Services For Northamptonshire

People living in rural areas of Northamptonshire will soon be able to call or text for a bus.

 Residents can register to use the new County Connect bus service, a new transport system which will help to link rural communities.

The demand response system will focus on five separate areas in Northamptonshire and centre round hub towns, where passengers can then connect with regular inter-urban buses.

People who want to use the service first need to register and from August 22 this can be done by contacting 0845 456 4474 or by going online at www.county-connect.co.uk

People can either book their journeys through the contact details above or by texting CountyConnect followed by their message to 82727.

The service works on a first-come-first-served basis and journeys can be booked up to a week in advance to travel to any other stop in the area served, not just the local town centre.

The County Connect service starts to operate on September 5 and for many small rural communities it will be the first time they have had access to public transport, and in scores of others, infrequent services running less than three times a week, will be replaced by daily services.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: "This new system offers reliable bus journeys but one of the other advantages is that because it is demand led costs are kept to a minimum.

"The financial challenge we face as a council has meant that we had to re-examine the way we run all of our services including the provision of subsidised public transport.

"However, this new flexible approach makes much more sense today and therefore I believe County Connect will provide a better service for everyone not just financially but practically too."

As well as the existing CallConnect branded service in North East Northants,
the new CountyConnect service will be launched in September across:
" Nene Valley, focused on Oundle, Thrapston and Raunds
" Welland Valley, focused on Market Harborough
" Long Buckby and Daventry
" South Northants, focused on Towcester and Brackley, including off-peak links to Banbury

County Connect differs from conventional bus services in that customers book a seat on specially designed low-floor mini-buses either by telephone, text message or via the internet and arrange to be picked up at a specific time at their nearest village bus stop.