Now to get from Blythburgh to Lowestoft - both located on the A12 remember - it will mean the 88A to Southwold, then a 99 to Lowestoft. If you're in Wangford you need to get the 146 to Pakefield and change there to the 99. Either way if you are a fare payer you have been priced out of the market due to having to use multiple operators and still the lack of a multi-operator ticket that the rest of the country seems to have. In other words tough - we want your money as the council don't give us enough for Concessionary passes but make the bus an attractive option for those not in major towns or cities? Don't be silly - we'd rather not run a bus at all than make an effort to encourage passenger use with sensible timetabling and financial incentives.
|The good old days of the 62|
First of all you will need to catch the 0913 88A from Blythburgh to Halesworth (0918 Wenhaston). Jump off pretty quick as you only have 2 mins to make the connection at Halesworth onto the 0935 60H to Beccles arriving at 1007. Again you'll need to be pretty sharpish getting off as you need to immediately jump on the 1010 service 81 to Great Yarmouth, arriving at 1050. There you can link up with the new not much improved 61, leaving at 1105, arriving in Lowestoft at 1153. Not bad - only 160 mins to do 15 miles. Now let's look at the return journey shall we assuming you only want a couple of hours in Lowestoft. Ok you can't have a couple of hours as you need to get the 1325 back to Yarmouth so no time for a leisurely lunch I'm afraid. Once at Yarmouth you can catch the 1417 service 81 to Beccles arriving at 1457. Oh dear we have now hit a slight problem as the next bus back to Halesworth doesn't leave until 1720 so you might as well have lunch in Lowestoft after all. Back to the drawing board. Instead get the 1525 from Lowestoft to Yarmouth but make sure you get off at Southtown Rd as the Beccles bus leaves Market Gates a minute before the 61 gets in. This will mean you get to Beccles at 1652 and only have to wait 28 mins for the 60H, getting to Halesworth at 1755. Oh hang on what's this? The last 88A to Southwold which until today left Halesworth at 1815 has been cut, the last one being 1715 so you're stranded in Halesworth. Sorry about that let's try again.
So back to plan A - have your 2 hours in Lowestoft, catch the 1355 61 from Lowestoft to Yarmouth, jump on Konect's new service 7 at 1435 to Norwich, which you can use your all day (no kidding) ticket on then catch the 1600 X88 to Halesworth which becomes the 1715 88A arriving at Blythburgh at 1729. Simple really isn't it! Oh just one thing - from the end of August the 81 times change again, and that morning connection at Beccles you make by 3 mins? Sorry - the 81 will now leave 5 mins earlier so it won't connect anymore. Still fancy catching the bus? Yet more communities effectively cut off through damned incompetence and yet again it's the fare payer who suffers the most - the very people we are told should be encouraged to use the bus more often.
However if you live in Bungay, Beccles or Haddiscoe you are going to see a dramatic improvement in your bus service. On 15th August Borderbus launch their new 580 service between Beccles and Yarmouth. The service will operate hourly between 0816 and 1432 via Shipmeadow, re-introducing the fast link between Bungay and Beccles that proved so popular, and James Paget Hospital, thus reinstating a direct link from Beccles - JPH that was lost when Anglian withdrew the 60. For the first two weeks Anglian will be operating the current 80/81 timetable but from August 29th Anglian will be going commercial between Bungay and Yarmouth, also operating via Shipmeadow but then current route to Yarmouth. Although operating less journeys per day than Borderbus Anglian do operate the earliest and latest journeys. If the 580 proves successful I would expect Borderbus to increase afternoon journeys as they have done with the 146. Also from August 29th Simonds begin operating the Diss - Beccles part of the route, renumbered 581, and two journeys each way a day will connect with the 580 at Beccles. The 581 will operate the existing route between Bungay and Beccles but as yet I do not know if there will be mutual ticket acceptance on the 580/581. Borderbus are also taking over the Beccles Town Service, with four morning journeys a day Monday - Friday. *UPDATE: Just been informed that there WILL be mutual ticket acceptance between the 580 and 581. Good. Let that be the start.
Speaking of the 146 yesterday marked the second anniversary of the launch of the 146, and my how the route has flourished in that time. I predicted deckers would soon be needed and sure enough a 3rd Gemini arrived on Friday. Four more record days last week with figures for July currently showing a 71& increase in passenger numbers and 90% increase in revenue compared to July 2015 Now if only they could take over the Halesworth corridors too!