Kesgrave school bus service to be axed from September

Kesgrave High School. Picture: ARCHANT

Kesgrave High School. Picture: ARCHANT

A bus service to Kesgrave High School is set to be axed due to dwindling numbers of passengers. 

Students have used the Ipswich Buses service less in recent years and the company thinks take-up will fall further in the coming term, so it is "reluctantly" cancelling the 511 from September. 

The bus service said in a statement: "We regret to advise students and parents that due to declining patronage and a projected  lower number of passengers using the service from September 2021 that Ipswich Buses have reluctantly made the decision to cancel service 511 and it will not operate after the end of the summer term.

"Ipswich Buses operated this service on a commercial basis to cater for students outside the school's main catchment area; however, usage has continued to decline over the past few years as students along the route have chosen other schools and sadly it is no longer commercial viable to operate this service.

"We have made both Suffolk County Council and Kesgrave High School aware of our decision and enquires regarding a replacement service should be directed to the school not Ipswich Buses as we do not have that information."

Julia Upton will join Kesgrave High School from Debenham as headteacher from September. Picture: SAR

Headteacher at Kesgrave High School Julia Upton - Credit: Archant

Julia Upton, the headteacher at Kesgrave High School, said: "Whilst we understand the need to rationalise services, the late notice for the next academic year will cause difficulties to some families.

"Given the challenges for families and the need to prioritise recovery for our young people as we emerge from the pandemic, this is an unfortunate hurdle to have put in the way of their education."

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A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Ipswich Buses have advised us that the service is no longer commercially viable due to the declining patronage and lower projected passengers from September 2021.

"Suffolk County Council is unable to provide an alternative bus for non-eligible pupils who used the 511 service as these students fall outside of the authority’s statutory responsibility.”

There is a park and ride 800 bus, operated by First Bus, which also calls at Kesgrave High School. It runs Mondays to Saturdays every 15 minutes from around 7am to 7pm. 

Empty bus in Ipswich

Fewer people have been travelling on buses since the first lockdown. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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