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Passengers left in dark over bus routes

Mystery surrounds the sudden cancellation of bus services operated by Essex County Buses in Bury St Edmunds.

The 81, 82 and B3 services, which operated around the town and its housing estates, stopped running earlier this week. Routes operated by First Eastern Counties are not affected and are running as usual.

A disgruntled passenger informed the Bury Free Press on Tuesday that the Essex County Buses (ECB) services were no longer running - but there has been no official explanation.

On Wednesday, Bury Bus Station said the ECB services were not running any more and, as far as they knew, they had been suspended.

Suffolk County Council said it did not have any subsidised services with ECB, but it has placed a notice on its website informing passengers that the company's services in the Bury area are subject to cancellation.

"We will bring you more information once we have been informed," it said.

The firm was due in front of a traffic commissioner public inquiry, in Cambridge, on Monday, for consideration of disciplinary action under sections 17, 26 and 28 of the Transport Act 1985.

The case was adjourned and no date was given for a future hearing.

ECB, which is based in Henham, Essex, started operating services in Bury last September, initially launching an 81 route covering the Mildenhall Road estate, West Suffolk Hospital, the town centre and Nowton estate, and an 82 service covering the Mildenhall Road estate, Priors estate, Howard estate, town centre and Horringer Court estate.

The services were designed to run five minutes ahead of routes operated by First buses.

In November, ECB launched a third route, the B3, from the Westley estate into the town centre.

This week, no-one at ECB was available for comment. However, when the firm first moved into Bury last year, spokesman Nick Fields said: "We have done the 81 and 82 to get a grounding of the public's need and are always interested in hearing their opinion and route alternatives and improvements.

"However, it has to be commercially viable."

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