Plea for more bus and train links

BUS and rail users in east Suffolk are calling for greater integrated public transport in the area after being deserted at train stations.The East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) is sending out a report to bus and train operators, councillors and MPs, calling for improved bus and train integration for stations along the Ipswich to Lowestoft rail line.

BUS and rail users in east Suffolk are calling for greater integrated public transport in the area after being deserted at train stations.

The East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) is sending out a report to bus and train operators, councillors and MPs, calling for improved bus and train integration for stations along the Ipswich to Lowestoft rail line.

The move comes as passengers claim to have been left stranded after arriving at their destination, having no means to get any further.

Helen Armstrong, a committee member for ESTA, said: “The report has really come about over the past few years because there have been lots of complaints about the lack of integrated transport.

“People arrive at a particular station thinking they will get a bus, only to find they are stranded.”

However, residents in Halesworth are also currently campaigning against the withdrawal of the 521 and 601 evening bus services between Halesworth and Southwold.

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The services were withdrawn at the end of June due to a lack of funding.

Nothing has been put in its place and residents were told they would have to come up with a way to see how they could best serve their community's travel needs between the two towns.

Wendy Mawer, county councilor for Halesworth, said a dial-a-bus service would be looked into.

Mrs Mawer said: “It looks as though we could put a project together where residents could travel between Southwold and Halesworth in the evening if they ring up 24 hours in advance. It is an option that we are going to explore."

Julian Turner, senior passenger transport officer for Suffolk County Council, said a demand-response service could help train/bus integration.

He said: “Buses can't do everything. If you have a service which meets the service heading towards Ipswich then it's going to miss passengers coming off the train heading to Lowestoft.

“There would have to be a very frequent bus service which would then lead to cost/benefit ratio problems. A demand-response service, however, could cover up loose ends."

A further issue addressed in the report is the proposed relocation of Lowestoft Station 400m further westwards away from the town centre.

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