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Council urges people to make use of new bus service linking town to hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:48 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 25 September 2018

MP Matthew Hancock, Secretary of State for Health,cuts the ribbon as the new bus service connecting Haverhill and villages along the A143 to West Suffolk Hospital is launched  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

MP Matthew Hancock, Secretary of State for Health,cuts the ribbon as the new bus service connecting Haverhill and villages along the A143 to West Suffolk Hospital is launched Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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People are being urged to use a new community bus service linking Haverhill with West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

A six-month pilot started on August 1, but Suffolk County Council says the number of passengers using the service has been much lower than anticipated.

The authority says to make the service a viable long-term option, an increase of passengers is needed.

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs said: “I am one of many people who have been asking for a direct bus from Haverhill to West Suffolk Hospital for many years, so I am really pleased that this service is running and I want to ensure that is a success.

“I would like to urge members of the local community to use this service as regularly as possible to ensure its longevity.

“With opportunities to book return journeys each day from Haverhill and villages along the A143, I think this will help people make the journeys they need.”

The service is available for staff, patients and visitors to the hospital and must be booked in advance by ringing 01638 664304.

Residents who would like to use the service from Haverhill, Wickhambrook and/or Chedburgh also have the choice to book online via the online community service ‘RIDE’ www.bookyourride.co.uk.

Residents living in other villages along the A143 can also use the service by calling 01638 664304.

The service, which is provided by the Voluntary Network – the county council’s Connecting Communities operator in west Suffolk, runs Monday to Friday, between 7am and 7pm and passengers are charged fares in line with the local bus service.

A full trip, Haverhill to West Suffolk Hospital return costs £8.

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