Bus service to and from Hadleigh saved following period of uncertainty due to subsidy cuts
A public bus under threat from impending cuts to county council subsidies has been saved, as services around Suffolk continue to search for solutions to avoid being axed.
The 971 service, which runs between Hadleigh and Colchester, will continue to run on a commercial basis via service operator Beestons, after it stops receiving its public subsidy at the end of this month.
It was one of 23 services earmarked to lose its funding from Suffolk County Council, after it was deemed to have insufficient passenger numbers to be considered financially viable in the long term.
The 971 had been highlighted by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge as a service that needed to continue, because of the number of sixth-form students from Hadleigh who used it to travel to school in Colchester.
Beestons has now committed to keep the service going, albeit with a change to its route, meaning the bus will no longer stop in Layham or Raydon, as it does currently.
Mary Evans, cabinet member for highways and transport at Suffolk County Council, said: “It is great that Beestons has agreed to take on this service commercially.
“It is an important route for residents in these villages, including students, who use the bus to get to post-16 centres in Colchester.
“This is a good example of how we are working with operators to find solutions where we are unable to fund services with public money.
“We are continuing our conversations with operators and local communities and are dedicated to seeking solutions like this for other services.”
A spokesman for Beestons added: “We are pleased to be able to take on this route commercially, to continue this bus service for our current and future passengers.”
More by this authorThomas Malina