New bus service to link Rougham and Bradfield St George with Bury St Edmunds launches on Monday
Villages at risk of being left without a bus service have been thrown a lifeline with a new route starting on Monday.
Mulleys Motorways has stepped in to operate the Bradfield St George - Rougham - Bury St Edmunds service.
The news is a relief to villagers, who were stunned when Galloway announced it would cease operating routes 377 and 386, months ahead of their scheduled end date.
Parish councillor David Nettleton, who was among the campaigners for a new bus route, said: “I am delighted by the route because it takes in Rougham village, Lark Grange, Sybil Andrews Academy, Sainsbury’s and the hospital before hitting town.
“We are going to have four services a day and I am keen to get the word out so people can catch the buses.”
The new 377 route is sponsored by Suffolk County Council, thanks to part-funding using a Section 106 grant from the Lark Grange site.
Cllr Nettleton estimated the grant assured the route for five years, but added: “It will, of course, carry on for longer if people use the bus. I hope it is a success.”
Karen Soons, county councillor, said: “We are delighted we have been able to work collectively with Mary Evans, Sara Mildmay-White and the county council to create this new bus route.
"It will mean Rougham and Bradfield St George will continue to be connected to Bury and beyond and enable residents to get to school, work and use Bury's amenities.”
Rougham resident Linda Barnard, who campaigned for a reinstated service, said she was pleased but hoped for improved bus timings in the future to accommodate shop workers.
“I still think more could be done,” she said. “It is a start, much better than nothing, but there is room for improvement, especially for a village so close to Bury," she said.
Cllr Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council deputy leader and cabinet member for roads, transport and rural affairs, said: "I’m especially pleased people from villages along the A134 will have access to this service.
"I am very grateful to the residents and bus users from Rougham and beyond who met officers from the public transport team and me to discuss the level of service they need.
"We now need people to make this a viable long-term option by using it as regularly as possible."