Council offer to buy minibus for residents

COUNCIL chiefs were last night applauded after they offered to step in and buy a minibus for residents whose campaign for better transport services has been backed by the EADT.

Laurence Cawley

COUNCIL chiefs were last night applauded after they offered to step in and buy a minibus for residents whose campaign for better transport services has been backed by the EADT.

The unexpected offer from St Edmundsbury Borough Council comes after the EADT launched its Route for Us campaign, which has called for an extension to the 80 service so that Howard estate residents in Bury St Edmunds could get to and from their GP, dentist, Asda store or council offices on two journeys rather than four.

The council is proposing to spend �30,000 buying residents a brand new minibus as part of a pilot project which would run twice in the morning and twice in the afternoons to take residents from the estate up to Western Way from two designated pick-up and drop-off points on the estate.


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The service, if it goes ahead, would run three times a week and would cost �11,135 to run for a year.

Ernie Broom, chairman of the town's Over 60s Club, said he was gobsmacked by the council's offer, which included paying for fuel and driver costs for a year.

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He said he was delighted with the idea but said he would still also be pushing for First, the operator of the bus services in the area, to reconsider its services for the benefit of residents in both the Howard and Mildenhall estates because children under three could not travel on the council-funded bus service.

Paul Farmer, recently elected county councillor for the area, said: “Having encouraged the borough council to become involved, I am delighted with this progress, but I shall still be pressing for a better service for this part of Bury when I meet First buses next month.”

Explaining the idea, the council's head of planning and engineering services Patsy Dell said in a report: “Officers have tried to explore creative ways that could extend the range of transport options open to local residents given the issues that have arisen with the current routing of the scheduled bus services.

“The proposed scheme is a pilot approach that would appear to offer alternative ways of addressing the access issues that have been identified.”

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