Once complete, Northampton Corporation Transport bus routes were re-organised ...
... linking together routes 3, 16, 25 and 25 to create what eventually became First's route 4 . An extended route 22 became First's 4A .
Apart from a few tendered journeys to the University once operated by Stagecoach, First Bus had, by mutual consent, exclusive reign over these two small passenger kingdoms.
Expansion of the University and the need to link the Campus on Boughton Green Road, other premises on St Georges Avenue, the Town centre and the station led to a small network of routes, eventually operated by Uno aka Universitybus aka University of Hatfield.
19 was/is operated up to every 10 minutes, Monday to Friday, less frequently at the weekends. Although aimed at Uni students and staff it offered its delights to ordinary passengers. Indeed, Uno began to operate a high quality service with tempting fares offers and excellent publicity, far better than either First or Stagecoach. Nevertheless, its route into town was more circuitous and thus less attractive. No doubt First felt a little pain.
Then came First's big retreat from all its remaining routes to the south and west of the Town centre. One month before the exit, replacement services were registered by Stagecoach and that, we thought, was that. As least for some time.
Uno started a brand new route 21 shadowing First's 4 all the way directly to town. Then came the body-blow to First. Having covered their abandoned routes (presumably to mutual but unofficial satisfaction), Stagecoach announced a brand new service to Obelisk Rise in direct competition with that of ailing First.
Showing 16 (and 17) this runs to the Obelisk Rise loop direct via Harborough Road, ignoring Eastern Avenue. Operating every ten minutes it will hit First where it hurts.
Spookily the route number 16 had been used by Northampton Corporation Transport for its historic service to Eastern Avenue, a constituent of the present route 4.
Histrory repeats itself, sort of.
But the onslaught on Barbie and its refreshed livery has not yet finished. Stagecoach has now announced another attack, this time on First's 4A to Acre Lane ...
... by registering service 15 to start on 2nd September. The 15 will run every 20 minutes compared with every 10 for the 4A.
Rumours abound, but First's registrations from early August will presage the company's exit from the town, or nearly so. On this date it would appear that route 4 is to be withdrawn completely and 4A loses its Sunday service.
Thus it will be that the successors to proud Northampton Corporation Transport will have two Monday to Saturday routes left; route 2 to to Rectory Farm and Route 4A to Acre Lane. And a very empty depot!
Truly, the end is nigh!