Fears over bus service axe

PUBLISHED: 22:51 19 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

PASSENGERS have launched a protest petition over fears that a vital bus route, will be axed, amid growing concern over services in Felixstowe and Trimley.

PASSENGERS have launched a protest petition over fears that a vital bus route, will be axed, amid growing concern over services in Felixstowe and Trimley.

First Eastern Counties are understood to be planning to remove from the timetable, the regular service which goes through the Faulkeners Way estate.

The service was one of seven on the company's hit list and after intervention by the county council, all but the Trimley one were saved.

Last month First Eastern Counties axed the Trimley service for a fortnight while the driver was on holiday . . . because it said it could not get a relief driver!

But passengers are also very concerned about other services – especially the enormous congestion on the buses early in the morning when they are packed with people trying to get to school, college and work.

There is also no service between 8.10am and 9.12am to Ipswich, which has caused some people real problems if the earlier buses are full.

Trimley St Martin Parish Council has invited a representative of the bus company to meet councillors to talk about the problems and answer questions.

Felixstowe bus user Maureen Last said she was disgusted and very upset at the moves to axe the 78 bus which goes from the resort's West End to the Trimleys, and round Faulkeners Way on Farmlands estate.

"We have started a petition and so far we have more than 200 signatures – which just shows that people do not want to lose this service," said Mrs Last, of Carr Road.

"It's a lifeline for many elderly people on those estates and they really missed it recently when it was cancelled because the driver was on holiday. It's a long way to walk for some of them to reach the High Road from the estate.

"We need our local buses. The drivers are wonderful and so helpful and build up a real relationship with their customers and help them no end."

Both Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin parish councils have expressed concern about the 78, the unpredictable nature of some services, and the crowded conditions on the three rush-hour buses.

St Mary councillor Mary Dixon said: "What sort of service are they running when they cannot find a bus driver to replace someone who is on holiday? There are real fears the 78 service will go – and unless it runs properly who will be confident enough to use it to keep it viable?"

St Martin councillor John Barker has been keeping a daily diary of problems and the "appalling service" provided to Ipswich between 8am and 8.10am between Monday and Friday.

Most days the buses have people standing when they arrive, and some days buses have not stopped at the stop at the Hand in Hand pub in High Road because they have been full.

His daughter paid £54 a month for a season ticket but since the autumn term for schools and colleges had started, she had not had a seat once.

No-one was available to comment from First Eastern Counties at either their Ipswich or Norwich offices.

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