New hope for threatened service

A POPULAR bus route which was facing the axe has today been saved.Residents in the Dale Hall and Castle Hill area are celebrating after reassurances from Ipswich bus company that the number 19 bus will remain in service.

A POPULAR bus route which was facing the axe has today been saved.

Residents in the Dale Hall and Castle Hill area are celebrating after reassurances from Ipswich bus company that the number 19 bus will remain in service.

There was uproar earlier this year when The Evening Star reported that the service which takes passengers to the town centre could be stopped, leaving some elderly residents virtually housebound.

The borough council had demanded increased payments from its subsidiary, Ipswich buses, which put the future of some routes at risk according to a confidential memo leaked to the Star.


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But at the North West area forum meeting , Malcolm Robson, managing director of Ipswich Buses, and Paul West, councillor for transport and highways, reassured people that there would be no changes to the service.

Debbie Owen, community development officer, said: “There was a big turn out at the meeting-maybe 60 people-and the main issue that everyone was talking about was the buses.

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“It is very good news that the buses will not be cut. There were a lot of happy people there.”

Eileen Shepherd, a 76-year-old of Ashcroft Road, said: “I was delighted to hear that they are not going to be getting rid of that bus. It is the lifeline for people around here as it is the only way to get into town.”

Last month it was revealed that widespread cuts to bus services in Ipswich were receding after it emerged that passenger numbers have shot up over the last few months.

The dramatic improvement meant staff at Ipswich Buses were given a welcome bonus in their pay packets.

Mr Robson said: “We told people that we have no intention of stopping the number 19 bus. There are not going to be any major changes to services. We want to make people travel by bus more, not less.

“I got a very good reception from people and was pleased with how it went.”

Steven Wells, ward councillor for Whitton, added: “I want to let residents know that they shouldn't be concerned about it. The bus is still going to run. If ever I heard it was under threat, I would make sure people are aware of it.”

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