Residents started to call me at the beginning of the week to enquire about the stopping of bus 16, a route that picks up many of our most vulnerable and aged.
I knew nothing about this and didn't believe it at first so I called Ipswich Buses myself where it was confirmed that it would indeed be ceased sometime in July, as an estimate.
I was incensed to learn it was for financially reasons as I know other routes are less popular but it is because most of the users are old aged pensioners and so the income on this service is challenging.
The first question I have to ask is why Councillor Smart, Transport portfolio holder, or his colleagues, some of whom are on the board at Ipswich Buses, did not think to send out a letter to residents, or to me for that matter to keep me advised?
I have started up a petition to ensure that no private company takes over this route - as we know what will happen to the service if they do - and to ask Ipswich Buses to change their mind & work with Ipswich Borough Council to find the funds.
Labour councillors are now upset that I have sent out a leaflet to the residents on the relevant route in Stoke Park, because they say they are sorting it out. however I would like to point some things out to them.
1) the petition is for IB to keep the route, no other solution will do
2) to ensure that IBC consider funding the route for IB, NOT a private company
3) It is my duty, especially as I am the only Tory councillor in the SW Ipswich, to hold the Labour group/the administration to account and that is what I am doing.
The residents are queueing up at my door, telephone and my e-mail. Most of them have checked for themselves with IB and have been advised that the cessation is going ahead.
THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Some of the residents have not been into town for ages because the route has been suspended due to roadworks. Some can just about make it to the bus-stop but will not be able to walk the distance to an alternative stop in Fountains road, although this will be an option for younger people.
Our old should be the most valued in our society and whether it's from face to face chatter or my leaflet, it has upset a few of them - but they deserve to know what's going on and if Labour had cared about it enough in the first place, they would have already done that job for me.
If you use this bus to come to Stoke Park and have not had the petition leaflet through your door then please feel free to contact me below with your comments.