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Plea to reverse controversial bus route change

PUBLISHED: 18:34 21 December 2018

The junction between Nacton Road and Felixstowe Road Picture: ARCHANT

The junction between Nacton Road and Felixstowe Road Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Pleas have been made for a bus company to reverse its controversial decision to divert a key Ipswich service.

First, the company which runs bus services in Ipswich, has re-routed the 76 and 77 services away from Felixstowe Road.

As a result, more than 400 people have signed a petition to Ipswich First’s network manager Iain Rankine at Ipswich Borough Council’s south east area committee.

Holywells councillor, Liz Harsant has now contacted the managing director at Ipswich Buses, Heath Williams, to ask whether the number four, a separate service which used to run on Sundays but was previously stopped, would be reinstated.

The bus company has said that it made the decision because the route is “under-used”, attracting only a handful of passengers each day.

Ms Harsant said: “I cannot travel to church anymore to Newton Road because the bus is cancelled.

“I always get the 75 or 76 up Bishop Hill. It has upset me and the local people in Lindbergh Road, Ipswich.”

Ms Harsant added: “It is ludicrous there is not a bus running on a Sunday. Older people, and the disabled, especially, rely on bus services.”

Numbers 76 and 77 were diverted to Spring Road, meaning the route can no longer serve Bishops Hill, Cobham Road, Lindbergh Road or Nacton Road.

Resident Bee Wiles, 73 from Roman Way said: “The re-routing has made it difficult to go direct from Felixstowe to John Lewis without changing buses. For a direct route into Ipswich, it now detours via the hospital which would be useful if I needed it.”

A spokesman for First Buses Ipswich said: “Before introducing the changes on November 18, we had several discussions with Suffolk County Council outlining our plans.

“In addition, we concluded a nine-month exercise in analysing customers travel patterns on all First bus services running within Ipswich.

“The data provided us with more accurate information of when, where and how often people were travelling on services across the network.

“Although a number of changes were introduced, Felixstowe Road was one area that we needed to make adjustments, as it was very under-used, regularly only attracting a single number of people wanting to travel per day”.

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