Solutions being sought over cuts to Bury St Edmunds bus service

Public meeting at Westley School, Bury St Edmunds, on recent changes to the town's Breeze 2 bus service ( photo by Cllr Paul Hopfensperger)
Public meeting at Westley School, Bury St Edmunds, on recent changes to the town's Breeze 2 bus service ( photo by Cllr Paul Hopfensperger)
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Scores of people met to voice their frustrations over recent changes to the Breeze 2 bus service in Bury St Edmunds on Friday.

A crowd of almost 150 people attended a public meeting at Westley Middle School in the hope of finding ways of overcoming the reduction in Stephensons of Essex’s Breeze 2 service which runs between the town centre and the Westley and Horinger estates.

Since January 16 Breeze 2 has operated an hourly weekday service between 9am and 2.30pm, citing it ‘running at a huge loss’ as the reason for cutting its early morning, late afternoon and Saturday service.

Cllr David Nettleton, who organised the meeting and has been coordinating efforts to rectify the loss of service with all councillors responsible for the affected areas, said the cuts were made ‘rather arbitrarily and without due notice’.

On Friday the decision was made to talk to the bus companies about a ‘temporary solution’ while investigating what could be done long term.

Bury MP Jo Churchill, who chaired the meeting, said residents spoke about the impact of the cuts on their lives and it was clear the changes were ‘ill thought out as far as timetabling was concerned’ and that the service being delivered was ‘extremely poor’.

She said: “In seeking solutions which include ‘Dial A Ride’, run by Connecting Communities, as well as service support from Suffolk County Council, it is the priority of myself, along with local councillors; David Nettleton; Clive Springett; Richard Rout; Sarah Stamp; to ensure we get a bus service that suits the needs of local residents.”

Cllr Springett said: “There are some good ideas which came out of the meeting which are being explored. All the affected ward councillors are working together regardless of party politics to find the best solution for all the affected residents.”

Cllr Stamp said they seemed to get getting some ‘real traction’.

She added: “From our perspective, Wayne (Hailstone), Richard (Rout) and I have been contacted by a number of concerned residents on the Horringer Court Estate who are no longer able to get to work on time. Once again this area of town suffers and is overlooked.

“When we are expecting such growth and are keen to encourage public transport use amongst our residents, this arbitrary decision by the bus company is unhelpful to say the least, although I do understand the commercial nature of the decision. I’m grateful to David for coordinating this and making sure we are all working together to try and find a solution.”