Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket bus subsidy cuts: Concerns over traffic and greenest county ambitions
Ten bus services in the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket area are among those affected by council subsidy cuts.
Suffolk County Council is axing its subsidy for 23 bus services in the county from October and they include routes which have fewer than 10 passengers per day.
The move will save the authority about £340,000 and talks are under way with bus operators to see if they can fund the routes.
Cllr Mary Evans, cabinet member for transport, said they had to make ‘tough decisions’ and were ‘open to conversations with community groups and partners to see if local solutions can be developed’. However, concerns were raised about the impact on those reliant on the services and Suffolk’s ‘greenest county’ ambitions.
The Bury town circular routes affected are the Mulleys M33 at 7am from the arc to Symonds Road at 7.13am and the M44 at 6.35am from Tollgate Lane to 6.56am at the arc. For these, there are eight average single tickets per day and the subsidy per single ticket is £7.43.
Cllr Trevor Beckwith said: “I’m not happy with it – for people at that time of day, even if it’s just an average of eight, it’s obviously important. What’s that going to mean? Another eight cars on the road. They keep making noises about being the greenest county and then they do stupid things like this.”
Cllr David Nettleton said the move could generate ‘hidden costs’ and ‘burden individual households and businesses’ as the resulting car use would create more traffic and impact on air quality.
Cllr Diane Hind added: “I’m concerned about them taking any service away – especially an early morning service that might be used by people going to work. I would like to know the full figures behind the usage at that time and I would like assurances that this isn’t the beginning of slowly closing the service completely.”
Other services affected in West and Mid Suffolk are the 377 Rattlesden to Bury, 386 Stowmarket to Bury, 387 Stowupland to Stowmarket, 456 Eye to Stowmarket, 87 Stowmarket to Ipswich, 375 Alpheton to Bury and the 461 and 462.
Jayne Munson, director at Mulleys, said no other journeys on the M33 and M44 would be impacted.
“Although the numbers on the early morning journeys are low, they are an essential service for our passengers and Mulleys are currently looking to see if there are any alternative funding solutions,” she said.