B uses abandon Woodbridge: Woodbridge abandons buses

The 65b Woodridge service seemed to be getting plenty of custom on Good Friday

I gather that the ‘temporary’ Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge stops (which have now been ‘temporary’ in the current situation for the best part of six months) are now intended to become permanent ones some day. Moving them nearer to Newnham Avenue will be counter-productive as they will then be close to the Duke of York stops and further than ever away from the removed Peterhouse stops. Moving them to the top of Warren Hill Road might be an option but they will be close to the existing Warren Hill stops and again be further than ever away from the removed Peterhouse stops.

They are clearly causing problems where they are.

The reason that these ‘temporary stops’ were put where they are is that some attempt was being made to mitigate the drastic local reduction of service caused by removing the Peterhouse ‘loop’ from First bus services six months back. This was compounded by removing the Martlesham section of the route on all 64 buses and reducing the number of 63 services.

I have to add that in this time, the combined efforts of Suffolk County Council and First Buses in cutting services have between them appeared to effect a modal shift AWAY from bus transport in Woodbridge, judging by how much emptier the few remaining buses are. This is the very opposite of what we are trying to achieve and is, perhaps, because the very limited morning/evening buses are now of minimum use for any worker or student:

For example, if I, an elderly disabled non-driver ,want to reach Ipswich and be at my desk reliably by 9am I have the following options. I can

  • take 7.15 or 7.45 bus from the Duke of York and walk/trans-bus from the Cattlemarket
  • Walk a mile and catch 7.35 train, rather than use the bus at all
  • Cycle 9 miles.

Returning at the other end of the day my options are no more attractive

  • I would need to leave work very very sharply at 17.30 in order to catch the last bus to Woodbridge from the Cattlemarket at 17.49.
  • The alternative is taking the very last bus (a 70) at 18.00 that will take an hour to go the country route and will then involve a mile walk home at the Woodbridge end.
  • Or use the hourly trains at 18mins past the hour and walking a mile at the end, rather than use the bus at all. This is easier if one works at Endeavour House than eg Phoenix House.
  • Cycle 9 miles. Often in the dark and rain.

This comprises the first/last bus services into Suffolk’s county town from the 12th largest town in Suffolk.

It also means that as County Councillor with a responsibility for a small is section of north Martlesham, I am obliged to cycle in the dark to Martlesham Town Council meetings, whatever the weather, as there now no available bus service to get me from Woodbridge for 19.15. Indeed there are now very few bus services that do so within the day.  Just to reiterate, I am over 60, and I have a disability that prevents me from driving. It is also increasingly hard for me to walk or cycle, but I – like many of those I represent – have no other options. How many of the officers, elected members  and business people with oversight of these services actually rely on them.  I only know of two other County Councillors who are reliant on public transport.

This is a tragic state of affairs, considering that the councils at all levels have declared a climate emergency. I am hoping it is not intentional. However it seems that the bus service reductions are  undermining our ability to use – let alone make the modal shift to – bus transport, just at the moment when we need to be encouraging it. Will our children and grandchildren forgive us?

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