This link gets you through to the First Eastern Counties bus timetables. You need to be aware that at the moment the bus timetables are changing with very little reference to their passengers.
One Monday morning in November, I was standing at a Woodbridge bus stop, waiting for a bus that would get me to a 9am meeting in Ipswich. Well it would have, if it hadn’t been cut by First Eastern Counties without any warning the day before. How to ruin a Monday morning quickly and efficiently, eh?
now, when I say without any warning, they certainly hadn’t warned me as a passenger – oh no. Why they hadn’t even changed the timetables. They also hadn’t informed me, as the County Councillor. And they certainly hadn’t alerted me as spokesperson for Highways and Transport.
Did they think that nobody would notice?
Things are not looking good for the bus services in Woodbridge. From a ‘high’ of 4 Ipswich buses an hour back in the heady mid-nineties, we are now making do with 2 which come fairly reliably as long as you don’t wish to travel in the evenings or on Sundays and public holidays. As if, eh?
And, to be fair, travel to Ipswich hospital remains possible within working hours Monday to Saturday just as long as you don’t mind a half mile walk to South wards. Although the new Garrett Anderson block incorporates a bus turning circle , no Woodbridge buses pass near that way. It adds too long to the timetable, explained the operator’s Suffolk County Council apologist. I wonder if they realise that the bus timetable is meant to serve the public’s needs rather than the other way round.
This is, of course, in work times. If you wish to visit the hospital in the severely restricted evening visiting hour be resigned to the fact that there is NO BUS AT ALL that goes anywhere near. Woodbridge’s evening, Sunday and bank holiday bus the 62a/b – the one subsidised by Suffolk County Council – doesn’t follow the daytime routes of the 63,64 and 65. Instead it makes its way from the Buttermarket in Ipswich, along the Nacton Road and manages to avoid the hospital completely. You could almost think it was happening on purpose..
A cynic might suggest that the 62a/b is travelling THE least populated route because it will make it easier to cut the service in future… (after all, if it doesn’t pass the hospital it can’t be counted an essential service, can it?)
Remember folks, when it comes to buses its use it or lose it. Its fine to disregard them when you have a car – but there are times when people can’t – or can’t afford to – drive. And where is your bus then? We are reaching a Beeching situation with local buses – if we lose them now we may never get them back.
On a brighter note, we’re having better news with the rail service locally, in that – twenty years after it was first announced – it looks as if we may finally have an hourly service to and from Ipswich at the end of 2010.