Ipswich Borough Council steps in to save threatened bus services across the town
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Some Ipswich Buses services that were due to be axed next month in a cost-cutting move are set to be reprieved after the borough stepped in with a subsidy offer.
Ipswich Buses announced in December that it would run its last buses earlier on most routes and would stop running them after 8pm on Sunday evenings.
It also said the Number 14 service to Wallers Grove on the Chantry estate would be scrapped altogether.
Now the borough has stepped in with an offer to subsidise late night services to Whitton, Whitehouse, Chantry and Rushmere with an extra bus at about 11pm out of town.
It has also offered money to subsidise Sunday evening services and a subsidised service 14 – but those services will have to be awarded by the county council as the passenger transport authority.
Borough leader David Ellesmere said: “We fully understand why Ipswich Buses felt it needed to cut costs (the company is owned by the council) but we are also aware that while those buses are not well used many people do rely on them.
“That is why we have come up with a subsidy to keep them running. That will have to be awarded by the county council in most cases. We’ve spoken to them and they are going ahead with paving the way for this so long as the borough pays for it.”
Mr Ellesmere said the cost of the subsidy was not yet known – but it was expected to be several tens of thousands of pounds and it was being included in the budget for next year.
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He said: “The evening buses are important because if they did not run then people may not use earlier services to get into town – and more services would come under pressure.”
Ipswich Buses is due to introduce the changes to its bus routes on February 18 – but it now hopes the cuts will be less dramatic than originally feared.
As well as the cuts to some evening services other routes are also being changed. The 6 and 6A routes that link Ravenswood, the hospital and the Rushmere estate to the town centre are being turned into two separate services to the hospital although the roads used will be the same.
There is also a new service being introduce running to the Dales and Castle Hill replacing Route 19 with a new service giving a link from the Dales to the Whitton estate and the Asda superstore for the first time.