Borough promises full consultation

NO bus routes in Ipswich will be cut without full consultation with users - that was the pledge today from the borough's transport spokesman.

NO bus routes in Ipswich will be cut without full consultation with users - that was the pledge today from the borough's transport spokesman.

And Paul West insisted that the council remained committed to an expansion of Ipswich Buses routes in the town.

In the wake of the furious row over the council's demand for more money from the bus company that it owns, Mr West - himself a director of Ipswich Buses Ltd - said the briefing note which outlined withdrawal of services 14, 19, and 22 was only advisory.

He said: “That note outlined actions that could be taken to improve the efficiency of the company - but they are not certain by any means.

“If it is clear there is a real need for these services then they will not be cut. And before any changes are made there will be full consultation with passengers. The bus company has made it clear no changes will be made until next year at the earliest.”

He said the council had invested in improved services to Ravenswood - spending £150,000 to increase the number of buses in the number one and three routes to give six services an hour before the new development, the town centre and the railway station.

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This was in addition to £80,000 it was spending on new bus stops and shelters. The money came as part of the deal which allowed a new B&Q store to be built at Ransomes Europark.

Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson said: “This proves that residents and shoppers like travelling on buses if we can offer them the right service.”

Today's news comes after Mr Robson said cuts would be necessary if it is forced to implement cost-cutting measures and efficiencies to save £400,000 a year.

Those cuts would be needed because it is being compelled to pay rent of £55,000 a year on its Constantine Road headquarters and dividends of more than £160,000 a year to the council.

Eventually it will have to pay rent of £500,000 a year when it moves into new purpose-built headquarters in Hadleigh Road in 2009.

The news that some services are threatened has prompted a furious reaction among Evening Star readers, with more than 50 coupons being returned - and a similar number of letters demanding that services should not be withdrawn.

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