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East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

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February 6, 2019 6:00 PM

For the latest on this story read postscript at the end.

Halesworth Bus Services to Norwich and Southwold face cuts

Residents in the Halesworth area, reliant on local bus services to allow them to socialise, get to hospital appointments and other essential appointments are facing the prospect of having to use taxis and depend the goodwill of friends once bus company Konectbus withdraws it service to Norwich from March 31st. Halesworth Bus Cuts (East Suffolk Lib Dems)

The removal of the service which also covers Southwold means there will be no through buses between Halesworth, Bungay and Norwich. Konectbus who say that the services continue to run at a loss, said they also intend to cease routes 272 between Southwold and Bungay High School and route 90 between Halesworth, Beccles and Southwold.

At a public town council meeting in Halesworth last night, several voices were heard to put pressure on the Town Council to stand up for our bus services. Councillors heard that Suffolk County Council are putting the service out to tender again.

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Sarah Hunt said ' public transport is the lifeblood of local rural communities and unless we put pressure on them the fight will be over very quickly. Apart from further isolating people who cannot drive, cuts to services will result in more vehicles on the road and more congestion and pollution.The withdrawal of the service to Southwold will inevitably impact tourism, a point echoed by newly elected Lib Dem District Councillor for Southwold & Reydon, David Beavan.

Sarah Hunt added, '' It was muted by one member of public at the meeting that people with bus passes may be willing to consider offering to pay something toward their travel. I fear that once one service is lost more cuts will surely follow. I think we should look at the use of smaller buses during the off-peak periods.We are due to have a rise in inhabitants over the next few years and more traffic on our roads. Buses are more essential in rural areas and it is the time to plan and promote the use of public transport services and encourage greater use. These essential services make Halesworth a great place to live'.

East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) have protested about the proposed withdrawal of bus service 88 between Norwich, Bungay and Southwold and asked SCC to invite bids to run a service between Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold.

Suffolk County Council have said: 'We are working closely with colleagues at Norfolk County Council on this situation. No decisions have yet been made on any future provisions'.

Postscript: 1st March 2019

Rural commuters who faced potential isolation after Konnectbus announced it would be axing its 88 and 87 routes from Norwich to Halesworth on March 31 have now learned that following discussions with Suffolk County Council, FirstGroup has now stepped in to run a new 99A service from April 1.

The removal of the route would have meant there would be no through buses between Southwold, Bungay and Halesworth.


Lib dems Demand Better (Lib Dems)