Victory on the buses as Suffolk agrees to rethink controversial new route

Zoe Rimmer was relieved that the buses would return to their current route. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Zoe Rimmer was relieved that the buses would return to their current route. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Passengers from two Suffolk villages that faced losing their bus lifeline to Ipswich are celebrating after the county council has given their service a reprieve.

The footpath from Thwaite to the the lane used by buses the bus stop is about 400 metres away along

The footpath from Thwaite to the the lane used by buses the bus stop is about 400 metres away along a winding lane. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

The 113/114 service to Ipswich is to be rescheduled from next Monday meaning it will no longer pass through the villages of Stoke Ash and Thwaite where the bus currently stops.

Passengers from the villages would either have to walk along the A140 – where there is no pavement – or go on a 30-minute walk on footpaths and by-roads to reach a bus stop that is not within sight of any houses.

The move prompted an outcry from parish councils, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore who lives in Thwaite, and local residents like Zoe Rimmer who uses the bus regularly to get to Ipswich.

A spokesman for the county council said that after the proposed cuts were outlined in the EADT last week and Mr Passmore had contacted them, officials had looked had looked again at the proposals – which included diverting a bus along narrow roads.

Zoe Rimmer at the "bus stop" that was supposed to serve Thwaite - without a house in sight. Picture:

Zoe Rimmer at the "bus stop" that was supposed to serve Thwaite - without a house in sight. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

He said: “The council feels that we need to review the proposals in the light of the number of concerns that have been raised – and in the meantime we plan to revert to the former timetable.”

Because of bureaucracy involving the government’s Traffic Commissioners, the new timetable has to be introduced next Monday – but it is hoped to revert to the old timetable on September 11.

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Mr Passmore said he was delighted at the news: “I can’t see how the changes would possibly have saved any time by driving down such tiny roads – and they would have lost passengers because no one would ever have used the proposed stop.”

His wife, Heather, sometimes uses the service and said she was delighted: “I don’t use it as much as some people like Zoe, but there are a few like her who rely on it. Their plans were ridiculous.”

And Mrs Rimmer said the news was a huge relief – she has had to give up driving because of eyesight problems: “I had told the bus driver today that it was the last time I would see him. Now it looks as if I’ll be back on board in a couple of weeks.”

She had tried the footpath to the stop at the weekend – it was a good stroll on summer Sunday but would be impractical in the winter.

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