Pensioners’ hope over bus service

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A GLIMMER of hope has been offered this week to pensioners who say they will be left isolated by the axing of a bus service.

From April 3, First buses is to stop running a service left out of the Howard Estate and down Beetons Way – a service used by pensioners living in Beetons Lodge sheltered housing scheme.

Now – and not for the first time – Mulleys buses is looking to see if it can step into the fold.

Jayne Munson, director at Mulleys, said: “We are looking into the commercial viability of the service.”

If it does decide to take on the service it will have to give 56 days’ notice before it can start operating them.

Derrick Hardy, chairman of the Howard Over 60’s Club, said: “Mulleys has got our support.”

It is only two years ago that the club campaigned to get First to reinstate buses, running up to the council offices and Asda in Western Way, that it had axed three years earlier. First refused saying the route was not commercially viable and Mulleys stepped in.

The changes from April 3 mean that First will have a bus following Mulleys on this same route. And it leaves disabled pensioner Christine Bird, a resident in Beetons Lodge, unable to get to her daughter’s house, Tesco, or the town centre. “It is taking away my freedom,” she said.

A petition is under way at The Greengage pub, next door to Beetons Lodge.

A crunch meeting was due to take place yesterday between representatives of the Howard and Mildenhall Road estates and First with a view of trying to persuade the bus company to reconsider the changes.

Cllr Bob Cockle, who called the meeting, represents the St Olaves Ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Bury Town Council. “All we want is the buses to take alternative routes, one turning left out of the Howard estate and one turning right,” he said.