Bus cut threats receding

THREATS of widespread cuts to bus services in Ipswich were today receding after it emerged that passenger numbers have shot up over the last few months.

By Paul Geater

THREATS of widespread cuts to bus services in Ipswich were today receding after it emerged that passenger numbers have shot up over the last few months.

And the dramatic improvement means staff at Ipswich Buses have been told to expect a welcome bonus in their pay packets over the next few weeks.

Company managing director Malcolm Robson said passenger figures had increased since the introduction of new buses on the Chantry route and publicity over possible service cuts.

He said: “We've seen a big increase in the number of people using the buses and the indications are that profits should be better when we report later in the year.

“That is good news and something we always seek to share with the staff. Full audited profit figures have still to be calculated but we are paying the bonus now based on the current level of profits.”

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He added: “Our passengers like the new buses and the publicity recently has made people aware of the services. For whatever reason more people have been travelling on our buses recently.

“I shall be presenting these figures to the board and telling them that investment in new buses does pay off.”

Ipswich Buses chairman Paul West said the figures were significantly better than had been anticipated and meant the threats of serious service cuts were more remote.

He said: “We have always said there was no reason to be too concerned about the threat to services and with these figures the threat should become much more remote.

“We've always said we want more people to use the buses, not less, and that is exactly what is happening.”

Labour group leader David Ellesmere said there was still a threat of service cuts. He said: “The fact is that the council is still looking to charge the company £500,000 a year rent when it moves into new premises and that will force it to make cuts which will affect services.

“But if the concerns have prompted more people to use the buses then that is heartening.”

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