Bus company cuts vital service through Norfolk and Suffolk

There are delays to Konectbus services travelling through central Norwich. Picture: Archant

There are delays to Konectbus services travelling through central Norwich. Picture: Archant - Credit: IAN BURT

Hundreds of commuters could be left isolated if the axing of a key rural bus service goes ahead, a transport group has claimed.

Residents reliant on the Konectbus service 88 and 87, from Norwich to Halesworth and will have the service removed from the roads on March 31.

The route runs through towns including Southwold, Bungay and Halesworth.

The removal of the service means there will be no through buses between Halesworth, Bungay and Norwich.

The company will run a Southwold to Bungay service which goes via Halesworth throughout March, but commuters will be required to buy two separate tickets for the journey.

Konectbus said in a statement: 'We will be reducing the price of all tickets between Halesworth and Bungay during this period so that customers will not have to pay more money.

'We will also offer refunds on tickets that can no longer be used for all or part of the journey.

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'The reason that we are withdrawing these routes is that they continue to run at a loss. We have sustained losses of several million pounds in our Beccles based operation in the last few years.

'This has been because of the loss of contracts to other companies.'

East Suffolk travellers' association said the withdrawal from Konectbus, which is partly supported by Suffolk County Council, will affect tourism in the area, cause congestion on the roads and increase pollution to the area.

ESTA Chairman Trevor Garrod said: 'If there is no replacement for it, more people will take cars causing more congestion and pollution, and for those who cannot drive or do not wish to drive will be increasingly isolated.'

The transport company also said they intend to cease routes 272 between Southwold and Bungay High School and route 90 between Halesworth, Beccles and Southwold.

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: 'The decision of Konectbus to finish its contracts for Routes 87 and 88 affects both Suffolk and Norfolk, therefore we are working closely with colleagues at Norfolk County Council on this situation.

'No decisions have yet been made on any future provisions.'