Cuts to Sudbury, Great Cornard and Glemsford bus services ‘won’t hit vital trips’

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Cuts to bus services in Sudbury, Great Cornard and Glemsford will not hit vital journeys, according to a company director.

Beestons Ltd, based in Hadleigh, will change its timetables for its number five route – from Sudbury to Great Cornard, including Thomas Gainsborough School – and the 236 service – serving Long Melford, Glemsford, Clare and Cavendish, from Monday.

Journeys on both routes have been halved to hourly trips on the number five and every two hours on the 236, prompting complaints.

Jean Bond, 73, from Stanstead, said: “I have to get the bus from Glemsford into Sudbury four times a week as my husband Alan is at St Joseph’s care home.

“I am not in good health and this will limit the times I can get the bus to see him. He has dementia and I need to see him regularly otherwise he will forget who I am.”

Mrs Bond added that she had bought a car two years ago to get to Glemsford after bus services through Stanstead were cut.

“People on the bus are very upset,” she said. “In the past, we’ve had to stand as it is full and I have never seen it empty.”

Kirsti Leeder, from Elm Road in Great Cornard, said she doubted the 8.30am service from Sudbury bus station would get to Thomas Gainsborough School on time.

“It will be even worse for the return journey,” she said. “Children will have to get the 3.20pm bus, but they finish at 3.10pm.”

Mrs Leeder, who has two daughters – one of whom is at Thomas Gainsborough School – said: “There is no way they will be outside on the pavement in time.”

She added that the reduced number five service will affect people like her who travel to Great Cornard to work.

Tom Munson, operations director at Beestons, said the service had been changed to fit around Thomas Gainsborough School’s new timetable and because the service was not viable, with around 150 customers spread across 20 bus trips each day.

“Great Cornard is over-bused,” he said. “That isn’t enough to keep a bus going round an estate.”

Mr Munson said Great Cornard was also served by Chambers buses on a regular basis, as well as Beestons’ 91 route to Ipswich.

“You can still get a bus from Sudbury to Great Cornard on the hour every hour as the bus goes to Ipswich, not every part of Great Cornard, granted,” he said.

Mr Munson added that most complaints had come from elderly passengers.

“It is because they don’t want to pay to use the bus,” he said. “Buses are still there at 9.20am and 11.20am – it is the fact they can’t use their free passes,” he said.

“It is not the vital journeys for people going to work that are being lost.

“We are a business, we monitor journeys and these two services needed addressing,” he added.

County councillor Richard Kemp said he has asked transport portfolio holder Graham Newman whether any council subsidisation was available but had not had a reply.