Shimpling, Lawshall and Hawstead villagers welcome new bus service
Villagers in Shimpling, Lawshall and Hawstead packed on to a new bus service as it made its first trip on Wednesday.
The villages were cut off when the 375 route fell victim to Suffolk County Council subsidy cuts and ceased on November 2.
Now, Suffolk County Council and Chambers buses have worked to reinstate a weekly service to the villages, with the route starting in Sudbury and ending in Bury St Edmunds.
The service is receiving a county council subsidy for a trial period to see if it is viable.
On Wednesday, Steve and Sylvia Cornelius got on the bus at Shimpling.
Sylvia said: "We have really missed the bus. I do drive, but I like to go on the bus and chat and avoid paying for petrol and parking."
Sylvia Small, of Shimpling, was a regular user of the bus before it stopped. She said: "Having a bus means I get out of the house. When you haven't got a bus you can't get out if you haven't any family nearby."
Diana Rowe, of Shimpling, said: "Having a bus service is not just for now but it is for the future as well. As we get older it is important we do have the ability to get somewhere."
John Shayer, of Shimpling, said he hoped an extra stop to one of the large supermarkets could be added to the route in the future.
Mary Warne got on in Lawshall. She said: "We definitely need a bus – even if it is only once a week – because for people who don't drive a car it is important."
John West, Hawstead Parish Council chairman, said: "I am so pleased people have supported it.
"I would like to thank Suffolk County Council for listening to what we had to say and Chambers for offering to put on the bus. I think seeing the bus so busy is testament to how much we need this service."
Liz Brunwin, Shimpling Parish Council chairman, said: "This is wonderful news. We have been quite worried about some of our villagers who used the bus on a regular basis.
"We are delighted Suffolk County Council listened, that is the main thing. This bus will be reviewed on a regular basis and if it is not used it may be cut, so we have made all the villagers aware of that. Having lost it for a time it makes people realise how important the bus is."
Elizabeth Roberts, Chambers operations manager, said:"It was wonderful to see so many happy passengers getting on board and enjoying the picturesque route into town.
"Bus services are a lifeline for many and we have worked very closely with local councillors and Suffolk County Council to develop a solution for all."
More by this authorCamille Berriman