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Report on the Kettering Catcher trial (October 2020)

Report on the Kettering Catcher trial
November 2020

The following is a joint report and up-date on status of the bus services to Mawsley Village and includes the 12 Neighbouring Villages Collaboration and the Kettering Catcher Pre-Booked Trial operation. 

Background – The 12 Neighbouring Villages Collaboration:
K1 & K2 was subject to discussions with KBC, NCC and MPC back in March 2020 but there has not been any further contact or discussion since that date.

As previously reported the 4-week trial operated by CommMiniBus was fully booked and in compliance with the covid-19 social distance guidelines, the passenger capacity of 14 was limited to 10.


1. Initial Trial: From 1st  through to the 22nd of October.

  • The Trial was operated against a background of on-going concerns about travel and social engagement within Mawsley village and this became apparent, by 16 members out of 37 registered, who supported and participated.
  • Initially, the socially distanced capacity was 8 passengers per trip and we aimed to achieve full booking. The capacity was then increased to 10 due to a vehicle change. During the first trial, the occupancy rate was around 88%, which has exceeded the initial target (110% if 8 pax/trip is the target).
  • A survey has been carried out. Result shows that users are satisfied:
    • We scored full marks in questions about hygiene, cleanliness and comfort, booking system, departure times as well as whether the destination should be changed.
    • Most users agree that face-to-face meetings like coffee club will help recruit new users.
    • There may be some question mark against the appeal of the Kettering Town Centre shopping facilities, which scores the lowest marks among all questions.

2.Trial 2, from 27th October

  • This situation was also borne out over the Trial Two which was scheduled from the 27th/10 and 29th/10 to Wellingborough, 5th/11 and 12/11 Rushden Lakes, 19th/11 and 26/11 Northampton.
  • The 27th and 29th trip to Wellingborough was advertised as a “Half Term” Special but did not receive any support from the target passengers.

3. Lock-down 2: 6th November 2020

  • The 5th/11 service was revamped in line with the Second Lock-down recommendations and included Essential Shopping to the major supermarkets at Kettering and Rushden Lakes.
  • CommMiniBus also offered covid-19 Community Volunteers free travel, but the service was cancelled due to zero new bookings and cancellation of bookings.
  • A change from our seniors support to on-line purchases may also account for the lower-than-expected usage.

Response and suggestions:

  • We view these circumstances the decision has been made to suspend Kettering Catcher until further notice and further review after the lifting of Lock-down 2.
  • Further trial is required to test the response on other destinations, as well as the different operational setting, including but not limited to multi-village pick-up.
  • Any resumption would be based on the commercial viability and sustainability supported by additional passenger volumes in addition to the Mawsley support.

Mawsley Bus User Group