Ipswich: Conductors are latest weapon in bus wars battle

AS Ipswich’s bus wars step up a notch, the town’s council-owned transport company has introduced a new weapon in the battle to win and keep passengers.

Ipswich Buses has brought back conductors, for one week only, on services to the east of the town where they are under pressure from new routes run by First Eastern Counties.

The local company has responded by cutting some fares – and introducing a bargain multi-journey ticket.

Now it has gone back to the future by re-introducing conductors on some of its services, for one week only, selling tickets and handing out information to passengers.

Managing director Malcolm Robson said: “The people doing this are office staff, a few drivers and a few people with us on work placement.”

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Lee Hill, who is normally a traffic manager, was in traditional uniform – he borrowed a conductor’s jacket from the Ipswich Transport Museum.

The number of vehicles on the town’s streets increased dramatically this week as Ipswich Buses stepped up its own frequency in response to First Eastern Counties’ introduction of new services. Mr Robson said it was vital to protect his firm’s interests – but doubted whether the current service level would continue.

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He said: “There are 23 buses an hour to parts of Gainsborough. I don’t know if there is the market for that, we will see, but in the past when this kind of thing has happened it has settled down after a few months.”

Do you remember the conductors?

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