Villagers gathered at the bus shelter in Shimpling village early this morning as they enthusiastically awaited the return of route 375 bus service between Sudbury and Bury St Edumunds.
The bus service, which was axed last November, was reinstated today (Wednesday 15th January 2020) following a campaign led by villagers and Parish Councillors for the provision of a much-needed bus route which helps to combat social isolation.
Working with Suffolk County Council, Chambers Bus has taken over the route and the morning service will arrive in Bury at 10.22am, with a return bus at 1.15pm.
Speaking at the bus shelter, resident Sylvia Small said, “I am so happy the service has come back. I don’t get out a lot and don’t drive, so without a bus service I would be stuck at home. I am heading into Bury St Edmunds today as I finally have a chance to get to a shop and recycle my batteries.”
The weekly service, which runs every Wednesday between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury serves the villages of Alpheton, Shimpling, Cockfield, Lawshall, Hawsted, Nowton.
“It’s so convenient travelling into Bury St Edmunds by bus, it takes you on a picturesque route right into the heart of the town and back again, no hassle, no fuss. We love to visit for a coffee, a bit of shopping and even to browse the library but also in the summer, we can enjoy a few hours at the wonderful park the town has to offer,” commented David and Madeline Gray.
Mrs Gray is also a Parish Councillor for Alpheton Council.
Also, on board was college student George Cooper who remarked, “Travelling by bus allows me to better manage my own time without having to rely on family to take me to and from college. I currently catch the Chambers 751 and now the 375 into Bury St Edmunds, but the new service allows me a bit more time in the morning which means I even get a lie in!”
In a growing society, where social isolation is becoming even more apparent and may impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, local resident Colin Johnston commented, “Our bus service is very important, especially for residents who are unable to walk far or don’t have access to a car. The bus service not only gives these people a reason to get out and about but also an opportunity to chat with others as they travel together.”
John West from Hawsted Council and Gerry Shrimpton from Shimpling Village both thanked Chambers Bus for bringing the service back.
“We are delighted that Chambers has reinstated route 375 back to our villages and we hope that our villagers continue to support the bus service, so it remains viable route,” said John West.
With many children growing up in these villages, the demand for access to these large towns will continually increase. Helen Pilgrim, a mum of teenagers stated that “It will be great for our children to have access to the bus service, at least once a week in the school holidays, allowing them time to go shopping and meet up with friends.”
"It was wonderful to see so many happy passengers getting on board today” said Elizabeth Roberts, Operations Manager for Chambers Bus. “We have worked very closely with local councillors and Suffolk County Council to develop a solution for all since it was cut last November. We will continue to review its demand over time and hope that the service continues to receive the level of support which has been shown today.”
Villagers can travel from Sudbury to Bury St Edmunds on route 375 for £7.40 return, with cheaper fares at each village on route.