Bus services get axed in Risby and Moreton Hall

Breeze 3 bus calling at the arc in Bury St Edmunds
Breeze 3 bus calling at the arc in Bury St Edmunds
Have your say

Bus services in and around Bury St Edmunds are undergoing changes from next week, with some being axed altogether.

Stephensons of Essex is withdrawing its Breeze 3 service due to ‘low usage’ and will no longer operate on Moreton Hall, in Bury.

Mulley’s Coaches will, however, continue to offer its M33 service on the estate.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “The Moreton Hall estate has a long history of operators trying to make the route profitable and all failing to do so due to insufficient passenger numbers using the services.

“Stephensons has operated these routes since April 2012 so have given them a reasonable chance to attract sufficient passengers.”

Great Barton resident Chris Silverman had hoped Stephensons would expand its Moreton Hall service to the village.

Worried about the effect of having a monopoly by a single-operator, he said: “People are going to lose out here and end up paying more.

“Something’s got to be done - there’s got to be a way the council can encourage people to use the bus service.”

Cllr Trevor Beckwith, who represents the estate on the county council, said: “That’s just what we need. They say everybody’s got to start using public transport and then the service starts to deteriorate.”

Meanwhile, Mulley’s is axing its 356 service to Risby.

Resident Patricia House said she had been told the operator was losing money because ‘a lot of the people who used it were bus pass holders’.

“So many people in this village depend on that bus, a lot of old people depend on it for shopping, she said.

“I don’t know what people are going to do - they’re going to be left high and dry.”

Jayne Munson, director of Mulley’s, said the service had so few passengers that the revenue from it ‘doesn’t even cover the fuel’.

“The ideal scenario would be for Suffolk County Council to sponsor that journey,” she said, adding that the service could then be reinstated.

She said the Mulley’s 955/956 services will continue to operate but on school days only and people with pass passes will not qualify.

A council spokesman said: “This is a decision made by Mulley’s who operate the service without subsidy and have expressed the view to Suffolk County Council that the level of reimbursement to operators for concessionary bus pass use is, in their opinion, insufficient.

“The reimbursement is however in line with the Department for Transport calculator and published guidance.”

He said the council was ‘currently in negotiations with another operator’ to provide a service into Bury at approximately the same time, currently expected to be available Monday to Friday only, and was also examining longer term solutions.

Stephensons’ Breeze 1 and 2 services will be operating a revised route, with Breeze 1 buses returning to Bury via Cullum Road after serving the Hospital and Nowton Estate and Breeze 2 looping via Horringer Court, Flemyng Road, Westley Estate and Newmarket Road, partially replacing Breeze 3 in the area.

There will also be ‘minor revisions’ to Stephensons’ cross-town, all day, one week and four-week ticket prices.