Late buses on the way

LATE night bus services could soon be in operation in Ipswich every weekend as agreements over financing the scheme come a step closer.Following a pilot project tested over the Christmas period under the Nightsafe initiative, a late night service was seen as beneficial in dispersing crowds when the pubs and clubs close on Friday and Saturday nights.

LATE night bus services could soon be in operation in Ipswich every weekend as agreements over financing the scheme come a step closer.

Following a pilot project tested over the Christmas period under the Nightsafe initiative, a late night service was seen as beneficial in dispersing crowds when the pubs and clubs close on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tenders were accepted for five journeys from the town centre, including the Cattlemarket and Cardinal Park, making a total of 20 journeys across the town each Friday and Saturday night throughout the year.

The cost of running the service is to be split between Ipswich Council and Suffolk County Council, each funding half the amount.

The borough council are due to agree to meet its contribution at a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday.

The lowest tender, submitted by First Eastern Counties, proposed a service operating on 104 nights and costing £33,280 a year, less all fares revenue which would be returned to Suffolk County Council.

Most Read

It has been calculated that each of the 20 journeys needs only 11 customers to operate on a break even basis and therefore at minimal, if any, cost to the council.

Ipswich Council is expected to back the scheme in the light of the success of the Christmas pilot project.

A report into the funding of a two year contract said: "The operation of the experimental late night buses last Christmas was considered to be a success in terms of improving the dispersal of people from the town centre.

"This is an important community safety objective which can lead to a reduction in crime and public disorder and as such, is consistent with the council's vision for a safer and enjoyable Ipswich."

Following previous opposition from the town's taxi drivers the report added: "Recent discussions with the Ipswich Taxi Drivers Association have confirmed their support for limited late night bus operation of the sort now being proposed."

The executive committee is expected to agree to meet 50 per cent of the cost of the service for a two year period, with the opportunity to terminate its funding without penalty if it wishes after a 12 month review.

The money is earmarked to come from an underspend of last year's contingency budget for local transport.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter