11 March 2020
Community steps in to save lifeline bus from Bildeston to Sudbury
Community bus operator GoStart and three local councillors have rallied around to save a bus service for people from six villages who faced losing their only transport to Sudbury at the end of this month (March).
The 112 route, which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays between Bildeston and Sudbury, fell victim to bus subsidy cuts imposed by Suffolk County Council and is due to end on March 31. Suffolk Norse, the commercial bus operator, had served notice that it would end the service then and Suffolk County Council was not prepared to provide any more subsidy.
Now independent Community minibus operator GoStart, which runs minibuses with volunteer drivers in and around Sudbury, has stepped in to provide 16 seater minibuses running the same route at the same time on the same days.
John Philips, Chair of the Board of Trustees of GoStart, said: “I’m pleased to say that we have obtained confirmation from traffic commissioners that route 112 can continue to operate from 1st April using a 16 seater bus operated by GoStart. This is nothing if not a community initiative, and I hope it will be supported by the community.”
The new service is being supported by three local councillors, Suffolk county councillors Robert Lindsay and Jack Owen, who are both contributing to costs from their individual locality budgets, while Babergh District Councillor Bryn Hurren has been helping coordinate between the parties.
Councillor Lindsay said: “This is great news. Although the county council as a body appears to have washed its hands from supporting small rural bus services, those of us who live in isolated villages know that the passengers on this bus have no other options for getting to town. I’ve met the passengers when riding the bus. Many are disabled, elderly or simply can’t afford to drive.”
Councillor Hurren, added: “I’m delighted this is going ahead, it just shows what a little bit of local determination can do, when people put their minds to it. We’re very grateful to GoStart for taking this on and I hope passengers in my patch will now support the bus by using it.”
Councillor Owen said: “I’m happy to contribute financially to kick start this service, since it brings people into Sudbury on market day and so benefits the market and town, as well as the passengers. We need to support bus services wherever we can.”
The new 112 route will run from Bildeston, via Chelsworth, Monks Eleigh, Brent Eleigh, Little Waldingfield and Great Waldingfield to Sudbury bus station on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, returning early afternoon.
John Philips, GoStart – 01787 583557
Robert Lindsay 07738 264087
Bryn Hurren 07771 508348
Jack Owen 07758 673450
For more information contact Laura Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org