Meeting failed to give hint of shock to come

Above: (Left to right): Shaun Daw and Iain Rankine (First Buses), Cllr. Paul Hopfensperger (St Edmundsbury Borough Council, St Olaves Ward), Cllr. Guy McGregor (Portfolio Holder for Roads and Transport, Suffolk County Council) at County Upper School on July 6, 2011.
Above: (Left to right): Shaun Daw and Iain Rankine (First Buses), Cllr. Paul Hopfensperger (St Edmundsbury Borough Council, St Olaves Ward), Cllr. Guy McGregor (Portfolio Holder for Roads and Transport, Suffolk County Council) at County Upper School on July 6, 2011.
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Like many of the residents in Bury St Edmunds who were shocked and surprised at the withdrawal of First Buses from Bury St Edmunds, I too was equally shocked (Bury Free Press, January 20).

On Wednesday July 6, 2011, I organised and chaired a meeting at County Upper School which was attended by over 80 people from all over Bury with one primary goal – to improve the bus service for the people of Bury.

Also in attendance were seven St Edmundsbury borough councillors and five Suffolk county councillors. This included the highest ranking roads and transport councillor in Suffolk, Cllr Guy McGregor, and the highest ranking in St Edmundsbury, Cllr Terry Clements.

Shaun Daw and Iain Rankine, from First Buses, were given a thorough grilling from the 80-plus regular bus users assembled, and not once did they mention anything about withdrawing their service from the town.

First Buses have paid lip service to the many valid points and concerns raised by the users and, quite frankly, they have wasted everyone’s valuable time in the process.

The people of Bury expect and deserve better than this and I will work with the remaining bus companies to ensure that we get a bus service fit for the 21st century which serves all areas of the town adequately.

Paul Hopfensperger,

Independent councillor for St Olaves Ward, St Edmundsbury Borough Council.