Bus services under scrutiny at meeting

THE impact of council subsidy cuts on bus services in Suffolk will be discussed at a public meeting next weekend.

Guy McGregor, the county councillor with responsibility for roads and transport, will be among the speakers at the meeting organised by East Suffolk Travellers’ Association on Saturday, May 14 at Aldeburgh.

A number of bus routes have been axed or suffered a reduction in services as a direct result of the decision by the county council to cut its subsidies in an effort to save millions of pounds from its budget.

Among those affected are routes serving rural areas of Waveney, including some small villages which have lost their only regular services. Southwold, Reydon and Halesworth have also been badly hit.

The problems surrounding bus/train co-ordination at Halesworth will be among the topics discussed at the meeting at St Peter and St Paul parish church hall in Victoria Road, starting at 2.15pm.

Also on the agenda are a number of rail issues – including the ongoing problems surrounding changing trains at Ipswich, and the need for improvements at and around Beccles station, where the long-awaited passing loop (enabling trains to run every hour from Ipswich to Lowestoft) should be ready by December next year.

Linda McCord, who is responsible for bus matters in East Anglia at the statutory body Passenger Focus, will also be addressing the meeting which will serve as ESTA’s annual general meeting.

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It has been arranged to fit in with bus times to/from Saxmundham and there is a bus-stop close to the venue.

The third guest speaker be ESTA member Roger Wolfe, who has devised a series of walks between local stations on the East Suffolk Line. He will also be leading a 7.5 mile-walk from Saxmundham station to Aldeburgh via Benhall Green on the day of the meeting. Those interested should meet at Saxmundham station at 10am and return by bus after the meeting. For more information on the walk, ring Mr Wolfe on 01473-726649.