Saxmundham: Transport group outlines improvements to bus services in east Suffolk
22:07 02 March 2014
A transport group in east Suffolk has produced plans to improve the region’s “under-performing” bus service with an interchange hub connecting communities by a number of new links.
East Suffolk Travellers’ Association (ESTA) submitted its proposals to the region’s main bus operators - First Group and Anglia Buses - calling for a Saxmundham hub to enable “comprehensive accessibility between the major towns” in the region.
Peter Cogar, presenting the report at the association’s spring meeting in Woodbridge on Saturday, said the project had been designed to address areas “significantly below what we would expect from inter-town services”.
“The key issue is that they don’t increase the overall vehicle requirement - the total mileage would increase but using the same amount of vehicles,” he said.
Whereas the report acknowledges “significant developments” to the East Suffolk railway line, which now offers a regular hourly service between Ipswich and Saxmundham, it claims the bus service, in contrast, has “declined in recent years”.
It says Framlingham has been “particularly hard hit”, referring to the withdrawal of connections with Saxmundham and the reduction in services to Woodbridge as examples of the declining services.
Connections between Aldeburgh, Leiston and Southwold are also singled out as “deficiencies” in bus service provision, which the hub could resolve.
Saxmundham is the hub’s preferred location as hourly train services heading in both direction are scheduled to call at its station within three minutes of each other.
“This provides a stable basis on which an effective interchange hub can be developed whereby all the local towns in east Suffolk can be linked with regular services involving no more than one change of bus or train,” the report states.
ESTA’s proposals involve changing the termination of a number services at Saxmundham station and extending certain services, such as the 118 from Framlingham, to also connect with the hub.
The 119 service would be extended beyond Framlingham to Wickham Market, terminating in Woodbridge. And a new service - provisionally numbered the 596 - will expand on existing school services between Walberswich and Aldeburgh.
In conclusion, the report states: “This addresses the deficiencies currently existing in connectivity between east Suffolk towns.
“It recommends improvement so bus services in order to provide at least a two-hourly daytime frequency by public transport between all town with no more than one change of mode.
“ESTA believes this can be achieved within the current financial constraints experiences by both Suffolk County Council and commercial bus operators.”