There was a lot of comment in the previous post about upcoming service changes in Ipswich and the lack of timetables. Well today the timetables have been released, and surprise surprise Ipswich Borough Council have come riding in on their green and purple horses and saved the day by sponsoring evening and Sunday services operated by a company they own.....
The 14 to the wonderfully named Gippeswyk Park has also been saved and it seems very much like as you were. There are some route changes - the 4 will no longer served Martlesham, it never really caught on, and the 6 is being split at Ipswich Hospital with the Greenwich part being renumbered 2
The X5 reverts to its old 5 - there was never anything X about it! The X1 and X3 also disappear reverting to their old numbers. A new service 7 replaces the old 17 and 19 giving new links from Dale Hall and Castle Hill, and the proposed curtailment of the 15 and Thorington Park has been scrapped.
So common sense has prevailed - even Councillors couldn't see the county town of Suffolk go bus-less after 1930 every day. However, welcome as the sponsorship is an hourly evening and Sunday service isn't going to attract many new bums to the now hard (Scanias at least) Ipswich Buses seats. To succeed these days buses have to be the obvious option, not an "oh heck we've just missed one so what do we do with the next hour" option. It's not as though any of the town services are that long. Yes some are still half hourly, the 9/10 for example but I see no effort or ambition from Ipswich Buses to promote customer growth.
Having said that Ipswich Buses have my utmost sympathy for having to provide a decent service in a town perpetually gridlocked due to either never ending roadworks or a gentle breeze closing the Orwell Bridge causing utter chaos in Ipswich. So it is up to IBC to work with Suffolk CC (there's a novel thought) and sort the roadworks out, and Ipswich Buses to convince people that sitting on a bus in traffic is better than sitting in the car in traffic. Getting new (second hand) buses with very hard seats, no USB chargers etc isn't going to achieve much on that front so maybe a complete rethink is needed by both Ipswich Buses and their owners. As we are, requiring bailouts or Reading style investment to bring Ipswich into the 21st century? The Borough of Reading has around 162,000 population whereas Ipswich has around 136,000. Not a huge difference.
Of course to achieve that Ipswich itself has to be sorted out. Instead of daft fountains in Market Square how about real incentives to businesses to come to Ipswich, to bring the town back to life instead of endless boarded up shops and pound stores. Empty shops don't realise any income so why not offer all businesses, big and small a 6 month business rate waiver to get those shops occupied and shoppers flocking back to the town, preferably by bus! Absolutely nothing to lose.
Right, now I've sorted Ipswich out I'm off to London again tomorrow so I'll combine both tomorrow and last week into one report. Be prepared for some surprising, and maybe some not so surprising reviews!
All the forthcoming Ipswich Buses timetables can be seen on their website, which you can go to by clicking here.