Residents launch petition against cuts to Beccles bus service

Residents of Beccles have started a petition against the cutting of a vital bus service in the town.

Residents of Beccles have started a petition against the cutting of a vital bus service in the town. Pictured is David Rackham, Jackie Hardy, Doreen Clark, Sandi Ellis and Gladys Barber. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Beccles bus users have launched a petition in a last-ditch attempt to stop the main town service being cut from six days a week to just one.

The number 82 service currently runs on an hourly loop from Monday to Saturday for shoppers to ride into Beccles via various streets from Worlingham and in and around the town.

But operators Anglian Bus say it has been forced to scale down the service to just a Friday because it is no longer commercially viable.

The petition set up by Nicholson Drive resident Doreen Clark has already attracted more than 60 signatures. She said users would be prepared to accept a service that operated just three times a day - in the morning, lunch time and late afternoon.

She said: “I come in most days on the bus to do my shopping, but there’s no way I could walk home. Some of the people who use it are up to the age of 93 and some are in wheelchairs.

“A taxi is also too expensive. For some, the only time they see people is when they are on the bus, to be stuck indoors alone is not funny.”

And William Corlett, who uses the bus every week said: “It’s going to cause great hardship to people who use it. Half of them can’t drive and many of the women who use it are widowers. It’s an absolute travesty.”

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Peter Lee, interim business manager for Anglian Bus, said: “We really appreciate that a lot of passengers are disappointed and a lot of people are dependant on it.

“We have looked into the situation in depth and we haven’t taken the decision lightly, but at the end of the day we are a commercial operation and we can’t keep running at a loss.

“I know that passengers have been lobbying, but from a business point of view it would be very hard for us to find anything more we could do. They could try and lobby the district or town council to see if any help can be given.”

The new timetable will begin on July 25, with Anglian Bus operating four return trips to and from Beccles on a Friday.

Suffolk County Council has given a small contribution to Anglian Bus to help keep the service running.