Bus timetable changes will mean the loss of a ‘lifeline’

Mildenhall bus station
Mildenhall bus station
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Changes to bus timetables may leave Mildenhall residents stranded or facing extended journey times, a user has said.

Stephensons bus operator will merge three services from Tuesday, leading to a reduction in stops.

Among those services lost by the merger of the 401, 400 and 16 routes are Newmarket Hospital and Mildenhall Health Centre.

Brenda Noel, 71, of Mildenhall, said: “Lots of people are extremely unhappy.

“It’s all very well but when people are ill it does not help and I now have no buses to get into Mildenhall.

“I’m not the only one. It’s taken away the lifeline of a lot of elderly people.”

From Tuesday the only place Stephensons buses will stop in Mildenhall, outside of school services, will be the town’s bus station.

Mrs Noel said this would prevent people from moving around the town.

Bill Hiron, managing director of Stephensons, said: “The existing route 400 and 401 is currently funded by Suffolk County Council and we have largely commercialised it.

“What we have done is provided a much faster through service.”

Mr Hiron said that although some direct services had been lost, connections were available .

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Bus services in the UK are run by commercial companies who decide what routes to run, where to stop and how much to charge passengers. County councils do not have any powers to force operators to cover particular areas.”

The council said it has a limited budget to subsidise services so will always work with operators to make routes commercially viable.