New transport scheme to give locals lifeline

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A PIONEERING form of public transport is set to give residents in rural areas of Forest Heath a lifeline.

The Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service will allow people to be picked up from their door and taken to their destination when they want.

Suffolk County Council is rolling out the Suffolk Links Brecks DRT scheme from September 15, enabling people to get from village to village or to fixed points in Mildenhall, Brandon or Thetford.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning, said pilots of the scheme had been a hit with service users.

“Running bus services whether or not people use them is becoming increasingly difficult to justify in rural areas.

“This will provide transport on demand for Suffolk – I call it stretch limousines for the people of the county,” he said.

The service will operate by passengers contacting the DRT service to book their journey. Bookings have to be made 24 hours before the journey and no more than one week in advance.

A vehicle will then pick up the passenger from a designated place and pick them up for the return journey.

Transport will run from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday. Prices will be the same as a normal bus journey and concessions apply.

Cllr McGregor emphasised that the DRT was a service for all.

“This is not just for pensioners, young people who might want to travel into town to go shopping or to the swimming pool are just as welcome to use the DRT,” he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk said the DRT service would not be a replacement for existing bus services.

“The DRT is there to support and complement existing bus services and not to duplicate or replace them,” he said.

For more information go to www.suffolkonboard/suffolk_links_demand_responsive_transport