Home   News   Article

Bury St Edmunds bus services among 23 in Suffolk under threat in council subsidy axe


By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter


Twenty three Suffolk bus services are under threat after the council has announced it is axing its subsidy to those routes in cost cutting measures.

Suffolk County Council introduced a new framework last month to assess how viable the 61 bus services it subsidises are, utilising passenger numbers and the cost of subsidies among other criteria.

It has now confirmed that the 23 services to score the lowest will have its subsidy pulled, which will save the cash-strapped council around £340,000.

Bury St Edmunds bus station. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Bury St Edmunds bus station. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Talks with those bus operators are now underway to establish which ones can continue running their services commercially. Those conversations will continue until the end of July.

If the current operators cannot fund those routes, then a dialogue will begin with other operators, parish, town and district councils or find other means to help keep services running.

I recognise the importance of passenger transport and I remain committed to ensuring that Suffolk’s residents have access to it - Mary Evans

Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for highways, transport and rural issues, said: “We need to ensure we spend public money effectively. In reviewing these services against our new funding criteria we have had to make tough decisions.

“However the implementation of this new criteria has enabled these decisions to be made in a robust and transparent way and ensures we consider key measures before making tough calls.

“We are committed to working with bus operators and partners to explore other sources of funding to support these services once SCC funding ceases.

“We are also open to conversations with community groups and partners to see if local solutions can be developed.

“I recognise the importance of passenger transport and I remain committed to ensuring that Suffolk’s residents have access to it.

“For many people that may be a shock for their local bus service but we have got time to have that conversation.”

There are 211 services running in Suffolk of which 61 are subsidised. The 23 routes under threat equate to 0.7% of all bus journeys in Suffolk last year, according to the county council’s data.

Some of those services under threat include routes which have fewer than 10 passengers per day and some where the public subsidy costs more than £14 per single ticket.

It is hoped that the new solutions can begin from October this year.

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.

Jayne Munson, director at Mulleys, said no other journeys on the M33 and M44 will 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.

You have to wonder what will be left of our public services by the time we get the next county elections in 2021 - Sarah Adams

Sarah Adams, leader of the Labour group at Suffolk County Council, said: “Yet another cut. Yet another attack on rural communities. Yet another example of the Conservatives at Suffolk County Council knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

“The Tories say they understand the importance of passenger transport whilst withdrawing funding from a third of their subsidised routes. This is on top of the 60% they have already cut in just 10 years.

“It is this sort of empty platitude that erodes public trust in our politicians – the council is no longer seen as being on the side of the residents they are supposed to represent.

“You have to wonder what will be left of our public services by the time we get the next county elections in 2021.”

Caroline Page, transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: “The criteria for making the cuts may be new and fairer, but saying this does not obscure the problems these cuts will cause to rural bus users with few other options.

“Remember, Suffolk’s administration has also just cut bus-pass entitlement on the ‘Connecting Communities’ services that will replace cancelled buses. This is a disastrous double whammy for the rural old and disabled, and will add to our problems of rural loneliness and disadvantage.

“Suffolk has just declared a climate emergency. Are we expecting everyone who lives in our countryside to have a car?”

For full details on the specific changes, visit www.suffolkonboard.com/news/proposed-sponsored-bus-service-changes

The list of affected routes:

Service 90 – Ipswich-Hadleigh

Average single tickets per day – 19

Subsidy per single ticket – £6.62

Service 796 – Hadleigh-Manningtree Station

Average single tickets per day – 7

Subsidy per single ticket – £12.64

Service 202 – Ipswich-Shotley

Average single tickets per day – 39

Subsidy per single ticket – £5.06

Bury town circulars - services M33 at 7am from the arc shopping centre, arriving at 7.13am at Symonds Road and M44 at 6.35am from Tollgate Lane, arriving at 6.56am at the arc

Average single tickets per day – 8

Subsidy per single ticket – £7.43

Service 108 – Lowestoft-James Paget Hospital

Average single tickets per day – 18

Subsidy per single ticket – £5.93

Services 377 and 386 – Rattlesden-Bury St Edmunds (377) and Stowmarket-Bury St Edmunds (386)

Average single tickets per day – 54

Subsidy per single ticket – £5.20

Services 387 and 456 – Stowupland-Stowmarket (387) and Eye-Stowmarket (456)

Average single tickets per day – 24

Subsidy per single ticket – £8.79

Services 62 and 71 – Blaxhall-Wickham Market (62) and Sudbourne-Woodbridge (71)

Average single tickets per day – 18

Subsidy per single ticket – £14.82

Service 112 – Hadleigh-Sudbury

Average single tickets per day – 8

Subsidy per single ticket – £4.07

Service 532 – Laxfield-Beccles

Average single tickets per day – 39

Subsidy per single ticket – £5.19

Service 971 – Hadleigh-Colchester schools

Average single ticket per day – 50

Subsidy per single ticket – £1.27

Service 94A – Hadleigh-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day – 26

Subsidy per single ticket – £12.11

Service 87 – Stowmarket-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day – 66

Subsidy per single ticket – £2.06

Service 98 – Shotley Gate-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day – 22

Subsidy per single ticket – £6.99

Service 120 – Whatfield-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day – 20

Subsidy per single ticket – £2.69

Service 375 – Alpheton-Bury St Edmunds

Average single tickets per day – 50

Subsidy per single ticket – £7.74

Services 461 and 462 – Whatfield-Stowmarket

Average single tickets per day – 40

Subsidy per single ticket – £3.40

Service 482 – Diss-Framlingham

Average single tickets per journey – 33

Subsidy per single ticket – £5.45



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More