Anger at bus routes cut

A BUS route linking west Ipswich with the town centre will be scrapped and others downgraded it emerged today.

Rebecca Lefort

A BUS route linking west Ipswich with the town centre will be scrapped and others downgraded it emerged today.

Ipswich Buses is withdrawing its number two bus service which connects central Ipswich with Priory Heath and Gainsborough via Caudwell Hall Road.

Bosses said the cut would save the company £400,000 a year and take seven buses out of service.

However Paul West, chairman of Ipswich Buses and Ipswich Borough Council's transport chief, stressed buses fares would not go up.

He said: “The bus company has been hit three ways in the last year. Fuel prices have risen and that is costing the company half a million pounds more in fuel now that it was last year.

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“The loss of the Park and Ride contract will affect the company's bottom line by about £300,000 and the ongoing situation where concessionary fares are not fully reimbursed is hurting too where we have a £130,000 shortfall.

“We have to take action to change services. We hope these are the changes that will have the least impact on passengers.”

As well as the withdrawal of route two, service five and 11, which travel via Northgate High School, Ipswich Hospital and Foxhall Road, and service seven and 15, which go through Stoke Park and Chantry, will be reduced from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes through the day and from every 30 minutes to every hour in the evenings and on Sunday.

Route six, through Gainsborough and Priory Heath, and 16, through Maidenhall, will see a reduced service from every 20 to 30 minutes.

Mr West said: “We are disappointed and we tried to keep as many bus services going as possible. There wasn't any other choice.

“This now puts us on a secure footing for the future.”

- Will the changes cause problems for you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Passengers' views:-

Sue Forbes-Milne, 39, a volunteer at the Genesis centre for disabled people in Wright Road, Ipswich, said the scrapping of the number two bus could cause problems for the centre.

She said many more independent clients used the bus to get there and back and would now be left needing taxis or lifts.

She added: “At the moment the number two stops in Cobham Road which is right outside and makes it easy to get there.

“If it goes people will have to get off in Felixstowe Road which is a very busy road and could be dangerous for people with learning difficulties.

“It could cause a real problem. It could mean Genesis will have to pick up more people rather than them being able to get the bus.”

Matthew Moss, 28, of Dereham Avenue, Ipswich, who was also using the number two bus to get to Genesis, said he was concerned about the move.

He said: “I like getting the bus; it saves a lot of money because I don't have to get taxis. So I'm disappointed the service will go.”

Meanwhile Ros Hay, who lives off Whitton Church Lane, Ipswich and uses the number two service to visit her daughter said she thought the changes could leave some older people without access to transport.

She said: “I hope there will be another service along Cauldwell Hall Road because that is the only service that goes up there.”

Donna Tribble, 28, of Chesterton Close, Ipswich who was using the number five service said she wasn't worried about the changes to the service during the day, but thought one bus every hour on Sundays was not frequent enough.