Bus passengers forced to walk up Ipswich hill after bus route changes
PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:53 05 September 2020
Bus passengers have been left angered after a change to the route means they face a long walk uphill to catch their lifeline service into the town centre.
The number 59 bus runs from Ipswich town centre through the St Margaret’s area of the town to Rushmere St Andrew. One service a day continues to Little Bealings.
It is operated by First Eastern Counties as a service sponsored by Suffolk County Council – and recently the route was changed so it no longer runs through Suffolk Road and Tuddenham Avenue.
Borough and district councillor Inga Lockington said this meant that some regular bus users had to walk a long distance up a hill to get into town – and were unable to do that to meet up with their friends.
She said: “A lot of people are very angry about this.” She had contacted First Eastern Counties in Norwich but had since heard that it was a county council decision because bus services in the area had changed.
A spokesman for the county council said a new contract had been agreed with First Eastern Counties which was now providing more services in the area. As a result the company had told them there needed to be changes to that service to be able to use buses efficiently.
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He said: “If people cannot reach the bus stop then there is the community transport service available to them – but this change does allow more people to benefit from the services.”
The county council sponsors bus services in towns and to villages that would not be viable if transport operators had to rely on fare income alone – and would otherwise cease to operate.
Mrs Lockington said community transport was not an option for most passengers because at present it could only take people to hospital appointments. At other times it would be too expensive: “It will also cost a resident in Ipswich £4.80 for a journey in and out of town. If you have a basic pension or are on benefits how can you afford that?”
She also said that the part of the route that had been agreed as part of the green travel plan when planning permission was granted for the construction of new homes on what had been the Hayhill Allotments near Woodbridge Road about 20 years ago.
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