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Will the buses be able to compete with the trains between Felixstowe and Ipswich?

PUBLISHED: 15:47 24 October 2018

First Eastern Counties buses are changing their routes between Ipswich and Felixstowe. Picture: ARCHANT

First Eastern Counties buses are changing their routes between Ipswich and Felixstowe. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

It always seems that just when you want to catch a train from Felixstowe, it’s a bus replacement service – or bus-titution, as it is known.

So would it be better to take the bus anyway?

Bus services between Ipswich and Felixstowe are being shaken up next month in a bid to improve reliability – and compete with the rail line to the coast.

However some passengers living in the Gainsborough area of Ipswich have been angered that the buses will no longer travel through their part of the town.

Under the new timetable there will be three buses an hour between the towns, between the two bus stations in the heart of Ipswich to Great Eastern Square in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

They will all travel along Spring Road and stop at Heath Road, for the hospital, and at Warren Heath – for the superstores in the area – and along the old A45 to Trimley and Felixstowe.

Once they reach the coast different services will split to Old Felixstowe, Grange Farm or Landguard – giving each of these areas an hourly service to Ipswich.

The one “fast service” an hour will go direct from Ipswich Old Cattle Market to Great Eastern Square in Felixstowe via the A14 and stopping only at Ipswich railway station.

The stopping services will take 45 minutes between the towns, and the non-stop buses will be scheduled to take 35 minutes.

First Eastern Counties says the new services offer a simpler, more attractive journey between the towns. It says that because of traffic congestion on Bishops Hill their buses will no longer use that route – but only a “very small number of passengers” used the services in these areas.

However, anxious passengers from the Lindbergh Road and Cobham Road areas have been on social media to warn that the changes could leave them isolated.

And a Facebook Group to try to save the current 76 and 77 routes has been set up.

Alexia Lee, who lives near Lindbergh Road and helped set up the Facebook group, said many people who lived in the area depended on the buses to get to hospital or reach the town centre.

She has written to Ipswich MP Sandy Martin and local councillors in a bid to try to get First Eastern Counties to change its plans.

A statement on First’s website says: “Unfortunately, due to frequent traffic congestion on the way into and out of the town centre, and very small numbers of passengers using the service in these areas, buses will no longer serve Bishops Hill, Felixstowe Road, Cobham Road, Lindbergh Road, Nacton Road or John Lewis.”

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