MP talks to Commons about buses

IPSWICH'S bus crisis has been raised with ministers by town MP Chris Mole, The Evening Star can reveal today.

IPSWICH'S bus crisis has been raised with ministers by town MP Chris Mole, The Evening Star can reveal today.

And the minister with responsibility for buses has also met Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson at a conference in London this week.

Mr Mole said he would be briefing ministers about the problems facing the bus company, which is facing a squeeze after its owner Ipswich Borough Bouncil demanded it should pay a dividend built up over the years and should pay rent on its headquarters in Constantine Road.

This cash squeeze has forced the company to look at cutting services in several parts of the town - and withdrawing three services altogether.

It could also be forced into a freeze on the purchase of new vehicles just after it introduced new modern buses on its route to Chantry.

Mr Mole hit out at the threat to the company. He said: “Ipswich Buses is well-run and provides a very good service for the people of Ipswich.

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“It is the kind of bus service that the Government wants to encourage and it would be very disturbing if that service is threatened by the demands of its owner, the borough council.

“The town needs a good bus service, not only to provide transport for those who have no other way of getting into town but also to provide an alternative to the private car.

“If people cannot catch buses, we will find many more cars causing yet more congestion on the town's roads.”

He was speaking to junior transport minister Gillian Merron, who has responsibility for buses, and she also met Mr Robson this week.

Mr Mole said: “The minister is very interested to hear about the issues that have arisen in Ipswich. The Government is very keen to encourage more use of buses.”

N Is the council right to take profits out of the bus company? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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