New bus service gives ‘lifeline’ to town residents

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ISOLATED residents who have been without a bus service for four months now have a ‘lifeline’.

Bus users have been struggling for transport in Brandon since the withdrawal of the Brecks Bus Service in October.

But it is hoped that a new Dial-a-Ride service, run by the Voluntary Network and funded by Suffolk County Council, will fill the gap.

Caroline Cowie, manager of the Voluntary Network, said: “We know that those who previously used the Brecks Bus Service have really struggled over the past four months.

“They are not mobile enough to use the scheduled bus services and have therefore been somewhat isolated.

“We would really like to help them, get them back out and about and this is exactly what the Dial-a-Ride service will allow us to do.”

The service will provide a door-to-door service to vulnerable people, including the elderly, disabled and those with other ‘social difficulties’, according to Voluntary Network.

Rita Foster, a Brandon resident, said the service was ‘wonderful news’.

“It was devastating to lose the Brecks Bus; I always had my journeys to look forward to.

“The new Dial-a-Ride service will be my lifeline, give me back my independence and dignity,” she said.

Brandon town councillor Alan Billingham, who has looked for a way of running a route-specific bus service in the town for the last four months, was more sceptical about the plans.

“I don’t think people want to have to dial a number for a lift – they want to be able to do it spontaneously.

“It’s an idea that’s been tried before and I don’t see it working,” he said.