victory in battle of the buses

Christine Bird (centre, sitting) along with Bob Cockle and residents of beetons lodge, councillors and estate chiefs on bus company u turn. Pictured at the bus stop outside the Greengage pub.

Christine Bird (centre, sitting) along with Bob Cockle and residents of beetons lodge, councillors and estate chiefs on bus company u turn. Pictured at the bus stop outside the Greengage pub.

0
Have your say

IT is victory for residents, a care home and hospital workers after an apparent u-turn by bus company First.

But a public meeting is to be held as frustration mounts over bus services in Bury St Edmunds.

First axed a number of routes on April 3 after cuts to its grant. That left elderly residents in Beetons Lodge unable to get a bus into town, while hospital staff from the Mildenhall Road and Howard estates said it would be quicker to walk rather than catch two buses to get to work.

The changes meant buses from the Howard Estate would no longer turn left down Tollgate Lane but would instead follow a Mulleys service up to Asda.

Now, First has revised it routes again. From July 25, an hourly service will run via Beetons Lodge to the town centre, while another service will run hourly up to the hospital.

“Once these changes have been introduced we will again listen to any feedback received. We are committed to making sure that Bury gets the bus service it deserves both now and for the future,” said First spokeswoman Chelsea de Silva.

Beetons Lodge resident Christine Bird, 63, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon and so are the rest of the residents.”

Cllr Bob Cockle, who represents St Olaves on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “They have listened to what the residents and the community have to say. It is a step in the right direction.”

And Richard Mortlock, from the Mildenhall Road Estate Residents Association, said: “It is good news but it is a pity that it was cut in the first place.”

Others were less happy.

Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants, said: “I am pleased that we have got our bus back but I’m still not convinced by First.”

Suffolk county councillor Mark Ereira also criticised First. “It is not rocket science. First changed the routes without talking to customers or councillors.

“The views of many people towards that company are less than good. They feel they have been really let down by them.”

Borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents St Olaves, was ‘delighted’ at the u-turn but said fellow councillors claimed there were problems with the buses all over Bury.

“A lot more needs to be done. People up on my estates are sick of First,” he said.

A public meeting with First will take place at 7pm on July 6 at County Upper School.