School service change due to Ipswich Buses unable to 'cover the cost'
- Credit: Archant
Pupils have been caught up in Ipswich Buses not having "sufficient numbers to cover the costs" of its service.
Parents' main gripe is that the company's bus service to Suffolk One from the Shotley Peninsula no longer stops at the right times for pupils arriving in time for school and returning home.
Emma Jenkins, from Brantham, said she had "no idea" when she chose to send her son to Suffolk One that there would be no direct service in the morning until Tuesday, August 31.
She said: "It now seems that there are no direct buses either to or from the college.
"We are now having to look into a train to Ipswich rather than a bus from the station to college at great expense I may add!
"This is causing all sorts of issues for local families. It is bad enough that there is no direct morning service but this is now a joke."
An East Bergholt area single parent has been similarly hit with changes to the 93 bus service to the Ipswich-based college.
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The nurse explained her daughter already cycles to the bus stop, and leaves her bike at a friend's home, and now will have to wait for the return until an hour after the old bus service time of 4.10pm.
She said: "College finishes at 3.45pm. It’s not really safe to cycle the mile straight, no street lights, no paths to walk and very dark, but she would have to cycle a lot later in winter In the dark. I can’t understand why they have stopped the [after school] college bus."
The South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge is also piling on the pressure on Ipswich Buses after "aggrieved" parents wrote to him.
He said: ‘[It] is wholly unsatisfactory when the start of the school term is imminent. I will be contacting Ipswich Buses for an urgent statement on exactly what is happening, and asking why there was such short notice."
Steve Bryce, general manager at Ipswich Buses, said his company needs to "plan for the future" and make sure their services are "sustainable".
Mr Bryce added: "Many of the students at Suffolk One now attend on a flexi hour basis and the traditional college day no longer exists, so it is difficult to provide a bus journey for everyone especially when there are not sufficient numbers to cover our costs.
"Suffolk One is well served by our network and during the day services 13, 15 and 15A provide 9 buses an hour connecting the college with Ipswich Train Station as well as both the Old Cattle Market and Tower Ramparts Bus Stations where students can then connect onto the rest of our network including out of town destinations such as Colchester, East Bergholt, Manningtree, Shotley and Framlingham."