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23 bus routes in Suffolk are under threat - find out which ones here

PUBLISHED: 18:08 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:14 19 June 2019

There are 23 bus routes in Suffolk under threat as Suffolk County Council announces it is pulling its subsidy funding. Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

There are 23 bus routes in Suffolk under threat as Suffolk County Council announces it is pulling its subsidy funding. Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

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Bus passengers in rural communities could be left out after Suffolk County Council announced it would be axing its subsidy following a review of bus usage.

Highways cabinet member Mary Evans said some tough decisions had to be made. Mary Evans. Picture: GREGG BROWNHighways cabinet member Mary Evans said some tough decisions had to be made. Mary Evans. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council introduced a new framework last month to assess how viable the 61 bus services it subsidises are. The council has looked at passenger numbers and the cost to the public purse of subsidising each journey.

It has now confirmed that they will be pulling the subsidy on 23 services, a move which will save the cash-strapped council around £340,000.

Some routes carry just seven passengers each day - and each journey is costing the council the equivalent of up to £12 in subsidies.

Talks with those bus operators are now underway to establish whether they can continue running their services commercially without council help. Those conversations will continue until the end of July.

If the current operators cannot fund those routes, then the council will begin discussions with other operators, parish, town and district councils or find other means to help keep services running.

Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for highways, transport and rural issues, said: "We need to ensure we spend public money effectively. In reviewing these services against our new funding criteria we have had to make tough decisions.

"However, the implementation of this new criteria has enabled these decisions to be made in a robust and transparent way and ensures we consider key measures before making tough calls.

"We are committed to working with bus operators and partners to explore other sources of funding to support these services once SCC funding ceases.

"We are also open to conversations with community groups and partners to see if local solutions can be developed.

"I recognise the importance of passenger transport and I remain committed to ensuring that Suffolk's residents have access to it.

"For many people that may be a shock for their local bus service but we have got time to have that conversation."

There are 211 services running in Suffolk of which 61 are subsidised. The 23 routes under threat equate to 0.7% of all bus journeys in Suffolk last year, according to the county council's data.

It is hoped that the new solutions can begin from October this year.

Councillor Sarah Adams, leader of the Labour group at Suffolk County Council said: "Yet another cut. Yet another attack on rural communities. Yet another example of the Conservatives at Suffolk County Council knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

"The Tories say they understand the importance of passenger transport whilst withdrawing funding from a third of their subsidised routes. This is on top of the 60% they have already cut in just 10 years.

"It is this sort of empty platitude that erodes public trust in our politicians - the council is no longer seen as being on the side of the residents they are supposed to represent.

"You have to wonder what will be left of our public services by the time we get the next county elections in 2021."

Caroline Page, transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: "The criteria for making the cuts may be new and fairer, but saying this does not obscure the problems these cuts will cause to rural bus users with few other options.

"Remember, Suffolk's administration has also just cut bus-pass entitlement on the 'Connecting Communities' services that will replace cancelled buses. This is a disastrous double whammy for the rural old and disabled, and will add to our problems of rural loneliness and disadvantage

"Suffolk has just declared a climate emergency. Are we expecting everyone who lives in our countryside to have a car?"

The full list of affected routes is listed on the council's website here,

The full list of affected routes:

Service 90 - Ipswich-Hadleigh

Average single tickets per day - 19

Subsidy per single ticket - £6.62

Service 796 - Hadleigh-Manningtree Station

Average single tickets per day - 7

Subsidy per single ticket - £12.64

Service 202 - Ipswich-Shotley

Average single tickets per day - 39

Subsidy per single ticket - £5.06

Services M33 and M44 - Bury St Edmunds town circulars

Average single tickets per day - 8

Subsidy per single ticket - £7.43

Service 108 - Lowestoft-James Paget Hospital

Average single tickets per day - 18

Subsidy per single ticket - £5.93

Services 377 and 386 - Rattlesden-Bury St Edmunds (377) and Stowmarket-Bury St Edmunds (386)

Average single tickets per day - 54

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Subsidy per single ticket - £5.20

Services 387 and 456 - Stowupland-Stowmarket (387) and Eye-Stowmarket (456)

Average single tickets per day - 24

Subsidy per single ticket - £8.79

Services 62 and 71 - Blaxhall-Wickham Market (62) and Sudbourne-Woodbridge (71)

Average single tickets per day - 18

Subsidy per single ticket - £14.82

Service 112 - Hadleigh-Sudbury

Average single tickets per day - 8

Subsidy per single ticket - £4.07

Service 532 - Laxfield-Beccles

Average single tickets per day - 39

Subsidy per single ticket - £5.19

Service 971 - Hadleigh-Colchester schools

Average single ticket per day - 50

Subsidy per single ticket - £1.27

Service 94A - Hadleigh-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day - 26

Subsidy per single ticket - £12.11

Service 87 - Stowmarket-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day - 66

Subsidy per single ticket - £2.06

Service 98 - Shotley Gate-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day - 22

Subsidy per single ticket - £6.99

Service 120 - Whatfield-Ipswich

Average single tickets per day - 20

Subsidy per single ticket - £2.69

Service 375 - Alpheton-Bury St Edmunds

Average single tickets per day - 50

Subsidy per single ticket - £7.74

Services 461 and 462 - Whatfield-Stowmarket

Average single tickets per day - 40

Subsidy per single ticket - £3.40

Service 482 - Diss-Framlingham

Average single tickets per journey - 33

Subsidy per single ticket - £5.45

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