Relief as ‘absolutely essential’ bus service saved from axe
- Credit: JAMES CARTLIDGE MP
An under-threat bus route popular with schoolchildren and branded “absolutely essential” by an MP is no longer facing the axe under Suffolk County Council plans, it has emerged.
Despite the council pulling its subsidy for various rural routes, the 971 bus service - which will now run between Hadleigh, Capel St Mary, East Bergholt, Stratford St Mary and Colchester - will continue to operate without it.
This is because bus company Beestons, which currently runs the service, has stepped in to save the route by continuing to run it on a commercial basis.
However, there will be a slight change to the route and the bus will no longer stop in Layham, Raydon and Holton St Mary.
People living in these villages can meet the bus in Hadleigh or East Bergholt.
Suffolk's highways chief Mary Evans said: "It is great that Beestons have agreed to take on this service commercially.
You may also want to watch:
"It is an important route for residents in these villages, including students, who use the bus to get to post-16 centres in Colchester.
"This is a good example of how we are working with operators to find solutions where we are unable to fund services with public money.
- 1 13 Fire engines attend blaze at sugar beet factory
- 2 'Kind and gentle' retired Ipswich Hospital orthopaedic consultant dies
- 3 Hospital visits to be suspended due to Covid infection rise
- 4 A14 reopens after one person taken to hospital following crash
- 5 Man in his 50s dies after head-on collision on A143
- 6 'One of the favourites for the division' - Fleetwood boss Grayson on Town
- 7 Winners and losers: Hollywood ending, Bersant is back, fans get their wish
- 8 Where to find the cheapest petrol in Suffolk as prices hit all-time high
- 9 'Unique' café with 250 plus board games to play will open soon
- 10 £1million beach village set for approval as part of resort regeneration
"We are continuing our conversations with operators and local communities and are dedicated to seeking solutions like this for other services."
Meanwhile, a Beestons spokesman added: "We are pleased to be able to take on this route commercially, to continue this bus service for our current and future passengers".
MORE: Which bus routes are under threat in Suffolk?South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge had raised concern about the 971 route after it was announced the county could lose 23 bus services under council plans to save £340,000.
He welcomed plans to keep the service and said: "I'm delighted to hear this news as the 971 is an important route for my constituents, especially from the point of view of access to post-16 education.
"It shows that it should be possible to look constructively for solutions on routes which can work commercially.
"Of course, the question remains over less financially stable routes, particularly in more remote villages.
"In the weeks ahead, I will be working with stakeholders to look at some of the barriers standing in the way of developing alternative, more sustainable provision."
- Are you affected by plans to axe bus services in Suffolk? Let us know in the comments.