Ipswich: Bus services saved as borough steps in with subsidy

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Bus services in Ipswich which faced an uncertain future have been saved after the borough council stepped in to subsidise the routes.

Ipswich Buses “de-registered” three bus routes – 14/14A, 16 and 22 – and reduced the frequencey of the number 19 last month after they were deemed no longer economically viable.

But the borough council has now announced that funds from the annual public transport budget will be used to maintain some of those routes.

Service 16 around Belstead Road and 14/14A in the Gippeswyk Park area will now remain unchanged while a new service, 19A, will be provided to complement part of Service 19, in the Dales Road area.

Philip Smart, Ipswich Borough Council’s Transport portfolio-holder, said: “We have taken decisive action to ensure passengers enjoy an unchanged service on two of the routes and an improved service on a third.

“We are using part of our annual public transport budget to keep these buses on the road because we are committed to giving Ipswich residents a comprehensive and convenient public transport service that serves their needs.”

Mr Smart also revealed the council would be re-routing service 4/4A on Sundays and bank Holidays to operate via Broke Hall again from next month.

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Bus users on the affected routes were up in arms last month when the announcement was made by Ipswich Buses, a commercial company owned, but not managed, by the borough.

In the Stoke Park area, borough councillor Nadia Cenci, launched a petition against the plans for the 16 service, which eventually gained about 400 signatures.

Ms Cenci said the petition was instrumental in bringing about a solution to the issue.

She added: “As I was going around and knocking on doors, people were already talking about it in the street. They were really upset so I promised I would do everything I could to get this bus service back.

“I have never had such a huge response to a petition before.

“It’s absolutely brilliant. I’m thrilled to bits.”

The borough is also in discussions with Suffolk County Council over routes 22 and 31 in the north east of Ipswich.