Throughout March 2019, members of the passenger transport team at Suffolk County Council invited members of the public to come and have a conversation about the future of rural transport in Suffolk.

We held the discussions at three locations around Suffolk; Kesgrave (15 March), Bury St Edmunds (20 March) and Beccles (22 March).

There was a great response and we really enjoyed hearing the suggestions and opinions from everyone that attended the events. Below we have published all the notes and feedback from these events. All notes have been written up exactly as they appeared on hand written post-it notes.

Group sessions

Thinking about outcomes & h ow would you access the range of things you identified associated to your outcomes?
  • Group with Leiston – new minibus (no link with community work)
  • People desperate, people solved problem
  • Disconnect – social prescribing
  • Snape – No attending (only cars) – silver circuit
  • Exercise class – people cannot attend
  • Lack of joined up thinking
  • Please please join up thinking
  • Don’t pay for people to be connectors
  • Risk of people driving when they should not
  • Concern about Halesworth
  • Integrated ticketing – none in Suffolk (Roger French MBE)
  • Peasonhall & Lowestoft via Halesworth to Southwold
  • Hampshire Surrey joint ticketing – Explore ticket
  • Change terms & conditions contract to be included – joint ticketing
  • Cycling infrastructure
  • E-tickets – difficult to download
  • Broadband – Wickham Market hole
  • People moving into care homes
  • CATS electric vehicles (not wheelchair)
  • Use in small villages
  • One vehicle in each area – on demand on the day
  • Snape 20% have mobility issues – local community people collect
  • Manual handling
  • Disability awareness can be done by CATS
  • Trial an electric vehicle – Can this be a game changer
  • Dorset (going well bus) Divide up residents persuaded to use operation)
  • Wickham Market
  • Town Council, can get operator’s licence
  • School buses / community transport - town


Post it note feedback

What Travel services work well in rural communities now?
  • BACT helps to do shopping to bank, doctors, dentists. Need specific times and BACT get there on time
  • Trains Lowestoft to Norwich work well
  • BACT are there if not eligible for hospital transport - Meet friends, lunch with friends
  • Coordination of BACT services with bus / train
  • BACT works well can’t get to bus without it & collect afterwards
  • BACT arranges outings to get people out & about
  • Bus to Norwich
  • Bus Beccles to Norwich freq reliable
  • BACT sociable – Social club on wheels – good for clubs and lunch
  • Village has created Good Neighbour Scheme to include transport for those who need it
  • Nothing works well for the village (Snape)
  • Bungay to Norwich bus quite good
  • Train service works fairly well but a change at Lowestoft is necessary to get to Norwich. There is also a gap between 08.30 & 10.10 to allow freight train through
  • Locally community bus is very good but threatened by new legislation re driver qualification
  • Konnectbus used to work well except for frequent breakdowns. They have now withdrawn without a through service
  • During summer I needed to contact CATS to bring an old lady to visit friends outside of the area at Shingle Street, everything was managed perfectly by CATS and our friend was able to visit for lunch without leaving electric wheelchair behind.


Post it note feedback

Have you had an idea about how to meet travel needs in your area?
  • Talk with communities to determine demand for buses and destinations
  • £30 annual fee for bus passes to be ring fenced to subsidise services
  • Concessionary passes lack of reimbursement
  • Increase Suffolk Travel vouchers amount for bus pass. This would give trip to supermarket every 2 weeks.
  • Difficulty with planning ahead with community transport
  • CT subsidies cut by 50% over 5 years – Full bus driving licence needed.
  • Difficulties with young people to course in Ipswich due to poor transport links
  • New legislation on drivers will impact on community services
  • Oulton 200 homes completed no bus service for this area. Bus service needs to develop
  • Bus sax to Leiston not connect unless wait long time for school children
  • SOB – not easy to find everything improve this
  • Times of transport for disabled can’t get to school / college / work and we pass – have pay or get there late
  • Have to adjust evening class times to meet buses
  • CATS under financed? Patchy! Can plan ahead
  • Young people told PC that they would use buses to Saxmundham & Aldeburgh
  • More buses earliest can get into Bungay 9am
  • Direct bus Bungay to Lowestoft XP won’t wait for connections
  • Restriction on transport to schools – reduces choice especially for children that do not have access to private transport
  • Not enough taxis to compensate for lack of public transport
  • Very hard to educate people to DRT from scheduled services
  • Area bus service DRT people want bus service so not have to phone up
  • Better coordination of services
  • Bigger CT projects to meet new development
  • Most pensioners would be willing to pay for a pass to give them a reduced fare. The concept of a concessionary pass is good as it gives an alternative to driving when they no longer feel confident
  • No roadside timetables NOT good idea particularly for tourists
  • Bungay repair damaged bus shelters / stops
  • Bungay only subsidised services i.e. 581 is paid for by Norfolk CC also Sunday 41a / X41

Group sessions

Thinking about outcomes
  • Food - Farm shops / village stores too expensive
  • Need large supermarket shop in towns
  • Hospital / medical appointments
  • Transport timings to meet individual needs linking with PT / CT
  • Parking issues if you drive Inc. doctors
  • Socialising friends / family, eating out – evening & weekend less transport for these activities
  • Bridge club afternoon during the week
  • Getting to transport – links to trains
  • Just getting into town – young people
  • Get to A to B
  • Entertainment
  • Shopping (not Haverhill – Cambridge is better)
  • Hospital – not best – not happy about cost for concessionary)
  • Haverhill to Cambridge – difficult to get Stagecoach
  • Local community
  • Availability of transport – Suffolk is worst, other than Northamptonshire
  • Work & shopping

Group sessions

How would you access the range of things you identified associated to your outcomes?
  • Car sharing
  • Community Transport
  • Phone booking and assistance call centre
  • Training for older people on how to use mobile apps and computers / tablets
  • Prescriptions sent via email to chemist saves travel to both
  • Publicity – word of mouth recommendation for CT
  • More confident with CT drivers than taxi drivers
  • Mobility scooters
  • Walking
  • Taxi sharing
  • Solutions are there but local people don’t know they are – How can TVN get message out there?
  • Noticeboard
  • Parish magazines
  • People with disability number one concern is transport
  • Learning disability difficult with apps
  • Stagecoach not accept oyster card
  • Concessionary passes use on British Rail limited journeys in London
  • Disability Rail card (pay for available for hearing aid users. Can take companion for a third off
  • Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be used for rail cards
  • Contactless – would like to have this on TVN – big investment
  • Volunteers don’t drive – can’t afford to drive
  • Community projects happen in the very local buildings
  • Good neighbour schemes do a bit of transport


Post it note feedback

What Travel services work well in rural communities now?
  • Smaller vehicles – Greater Flexibility
  • Voluntary Schemes when people are aware of them
  • Haverhill – Cambridge excellent service – every half an hour up until 11pm weekdays and weekend service runs hourly
  • GoSTART Community Transport Dial a ride – need more information about transport
  • Volunteer drivers through Good Neighbour Schemes
  • Mobile communication means can contact driver on the journey
  • Trains
  • Listening – SCC Phil Magill very good (a lot of the time – he really listened).
  • Cllr Sandy Martin MP – very good with Monica Hargreaves at Stagecoach
  • Drivers help us get out and into the bus
  • Door to door service
  • Transport works well
  • Buses we need at least sometimes
  • Buses are good from Mildenhall, but they should go to villages
  • Stop ‘Austerity’ which affects the needy and think of people cut off
  • Stagecoach drivers good with passengers & guide dogs
  • Time to sit with guide dog with seat behind the driver
  • Haverhill – Bury bus service every hour. Last bus 6.15 – doesn’t now run to WSH goes direct to bus station


Post it note feedback

Have you had an idea about how to meet travel needs in your area?
  • Early morning bus to get people to work
  • Need more information of what is available
  • Haverhill – Cambridge bus services only runs through villages on route to Cambridge. None to Kedington, Hundon etc.
  • Train every half an hour – should be 10.45 latest train from Cambridge to Ipswich
  • Bus routes do not use routes available to them (Stagecoach current bus uses sugar factory – come off at parishes – Asda – SCC – WSHouse – Aldi) more opportunities – Wicks
  • Supermarket to provide courtesy buses
  • Encourage the community to use the available buses
  • Transport Buses to local supermarket
  • Booklet of local voluntary schemes to be issued to people who would benefit so they know how to access them

Group sessions

Thinking about outcomes
  • Attending doctors & hospital appointments can be difficult with coordinating times with transport.
  • Shopping for food – need large supermarket for value, distance is an issue for rural communities. Farm and village stores are too expensive.  Not all areas have local stores.
  • Banking is difficult with rural locations having no access to cash machines. There are a reducing number of banks in towns with shorter opening hours.
  • Leisure Centres accessible in towns. Exercise classes in villages can be difficult to reach for some older people.
  • Cinemas – only in town
  • Work
  • School
  • College
  • Socialising / seeing friends & family
  • Accessing clubs – Meet up Mondays
  • Pubs / Eating out
  • Amazon order then deliver next day - Waste of delivery? Rurally not economical
  • Sunday delivery charges
  • If competition in the market – instant gratification
  • Neighbours help on different days
  • Supermarkets (not the future individual journeys – can’t keep doing it
  • Partnership working – Very difficult when private sector makes them compete
  • Forgetting about future as a race
  • Cities – internet
  • Amazon drones
  • Linking the public to tell their MP’s
  • Teenagers 16 – bus not at these times
  • Social activities
  • Work experience – no bus after 8.45 – concerns about knife crime
  • Dependency teenagers
  • Able to work from home but need car for times a day
  • Drop in young people taking driving test – use this plus bus
  • SafetyCloseYou consider that the nearest available walking route is unsafe for an accompanied child pedestrian to their nearest or catchment school at rail stations – Woodbridge
  • Food, activities, leisure, health service, shopping, friends, family, socialising, education
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Mental health impact
  • Social isolation
  • Occupational deprivation
  • Changing people’s opportunities
  • Independence
  • Pressure from young people to drive cars earlier
  • Have to travel much further – GP’s further away – cost effective but people have to travel further
  • Not much team work
  • Too much individualism
  • Specialist centres in Colchester – lives in Aldeburgh takes forever – specialist skills lost in Ipswich
  • If best service in Colchester want to travel, there for best service
  • Library’s lost – not for the community
  • Social events - getting out every day is important outcome people want (affirmed by those with disabilities - they don’t want everything to come to them so they “don’t need to go out”)
  • Food – Like to get fresh food – can’t get everything at one place especially if on specialist diet. One person uses 7 places. Tend to go out for one main shop.
  • Health – surgeries do on line consultations now
  • Realise a lot is changing. Climate change and 12 years issue might be the nudge people need to do things differently. Could influence food availability. Need to build in resilience.
  • More prosecution of law breakers and fines.
  • Future – young people will do everything from phone
  • Older people need options
  • Pedal power has lot to offer – get exercise instead of going to gym. Answer for short journeys. Yung people could pedal older ones in Rickshaw.
  • Lack of awareness of what is available
  • Potential for electric scooters – 1st and last mile issue
  • Community could organise – electric vehicle, scooters - use what is available. Make YELLOW - bright colour electric bikes to announce it’s a community asset.


Group sessions

How would you access the range of things you identified associated to your outcomes?
  • Concerns about barriers for access to technology for rural residents; older people those without funds for internet & smart phones? Might this create more rural isolation?
  • Good Neighbour Schemes.
  • Encourage Parish Councils to operate their own minibuses; examples Stutton & Rickinghall.
  • Group travel reduces isolation.
  • Community Action Suffolk could support volunteer driver recruitment.
  • Fund a dedicated post to support community transport driver recruitment countywide.
  • Improve publicity about community transport.
  • Encourage young people to use community transport, improve the image of CT – promote the fact that CT is not just for older people.
  • Community Action Suffolk could facilitate a networking event for CT and communities.
  • Reducing need for rural transport
  • Wait 2 – 3 days for a delivery
  • Learn & wait
  • Cartoon – Is there any mileage of advertising bus services more
  • Rural internet down load bad
  • All people aren’t same
  • Car share – people are nervous about sharing
  • Enforcing rules / move virtues
  • Developer won’t accept
  • Be brave
  • Why keep doing pilots in cities
  • Have pilot in rural community
  • In urban have high pollution
  • Not a fair distribution of resources
  • Would like to cycle more if safe – like Copenhagen
  • Communication now
  • Might not be a double decker bus – might need something smaller
  • Concerns about mobility
  • Concerns from public bus changes & 1 hourly to half hourly
  • Persuade people to get on a bus (people put up with what they have got
  • Like travelling - want to get out don’t want everything to come to me
  • Co-ordinate Amazon deliveries
  • Supermarkets are now saying they cannot deliver when you want
  • Milton Keynes robots are delivering parcels
  • Robots would struggle in rural areas
  • CTOs and Good neighbour schemes should meet to co-ordinate services so GNS do not do travel
  • Hadleigh GNS offers lifts when Hadleigh CTO cannot
  • Most people that can drive have their own car and are not inclined to share – need to be a nudge to encourage this to happen (legislation, tax advantages etc)
  • Easier to go to a bus stop than phone for a service.
  • Could drop off electric car and get on bus
  • Asda Park and Ride was used - perception was it was an excellent place for P & R
  • P & R means you don’t have to worry about parking in Ipswich
  • Car share was tried by someone on my table and it did not work well - Wombat car club in Surrey – it was not used enough! French booking software was critical.
  • Free public transport would be an attraction
  • Evening services are now few and far between
  • Bus good in town but takes so long from villages
  • People are not aware of ability to change bus pass for taxi vouchers. Give more vouchers to those that live in rural areas. Work with churches to promote taxi vouchers.
  • Older people are not social media savvy
  • Halesworth to Southwold service longer waits and bus not stop at station
  • Passenger transport funding issues means
    • Cut cost of service frequencies
    • Increase fares
    • Increase patronage – not working hard enough to achieve this
  • Digital has helped with information and getting passengers – RTPICloseReal time passenger information also sometimes referred to as ‘live departure times’ is good. Phone tracking if delayed is good
  • Need a critical mass of services to get people to ditch the car
  • Use Crossings money (£97m) from government to give free bus travel in Suffolk
  • What works well now in rural areas is the car. People can’t be bothered to share.
  • Single Suffolk website for information -, not the case in Essex, Norfolk and Cambs
  • PT needs to be cheap, visible and fun. Needs to be exciting.
  • Need stick to combat single car usage
  • Employers need to take more responsibility - Norfolk subsidise P & R
  • Suffolk needs more P & R


Post it note feedback

What Travel services work well in rural communities now?
  • No travel services work well for Bramford residents.
  • What works a frequent service during core hours to get people to work, school and college etc.
  • Community support – neighbours.
  • Buses are generally reliable although infrequent.
  • No public transport services work well in our rural community – Stutton – Shotley Peninsula.
  • Public Transport & Community services to Ipswich Hospital, people have two buses.
  • Taxis, service buses, community schemes, timetable reliable.
  • Smaller buses.
  • Some communities have localised arrangements to help their residents.
  • BSEVC a very good service but need more time to book ahead for coach trips and appointments.
  • Community Transport works well within its current resources.
  • Rural train lines work well including request stops.


Post it note feedback

Have you had an idea about how to meet travel needs in your area?
  • Al l providers to invest in a joint volunteer recruitment officer. This person could then recruit con transport champions in villages.
  • Focus on Woodbridge – Ipswich corridor for public transport including evening services & then look at how to link to rural areas.
  • To reduce traffic through Bramford. Restore Park & Ride & make it free.
  • Rural train – patronage increasing / Rural bus patronage decreasing.
  • Advertising – joint approach across Suffolk getting more from social media, websites, marketing etc. It would be good for all to join together in this.
  • Reduced rates – even with using car + high parking fees in Ipswich it’s cheaper than using the bus if more than one person travelling.
  • Car parks on major roads e.g. A140 with bus pick up points to Ipswich nsh hours.
  • More bus services going into hospitals.
  • Making use of school buses when not in use and / or letting passengers on the school busCloseThis is a vehicle wholly contracted for eligible students; this does not apply to public services.
  • Community Transport
  • Driving Miss Daisy >
  • Good Neighbour Schemes > Work well encourage intergenerational
  • Public bus >
  • Ask the community – look at train time / bus links – office open / close times
  • Many bus commuters to train want earlier links to get less congested train.
  • Better advertising of services available i.e. not just online but parish magazines.
  • More help w. Advertising services from Council.
  • Taxi licensing needs to be amended so that drivers can assist passengers from their homes (and back).
  • It is best to have timetables or call when needed. Would people use it more if they had regular times to plan by. Investing e money to establish regular routes.
  • Specific minibus services such as the “co-op trip” like the pilot in Stutton. Weekly minibus to take residents to the co-op in next village.
  • Free bus / community transport for all. Use central gov. Funding from Wet Dock Bridge. Services will evolve as passenger use increases. Public transport can really gain momentum if we have a really strong incentive. Will need a long-term commitment. It is absolutely with climate change forecasts that we reduce carbon emissions through transport + take cars esp. Single occupancy off the road!
  • What could be improved – A regular community service as in Dial A Ride but at fixed times – subsidised free buses to out of town stores.
  • Free buses to school / higher education is a
  • Do a cross Department action plan. Talk to those in Environment, Education, other transport.
  • Use smaller buses – too many old – big double decker’s empty!
  • Talk to Yorkshire Councils – they have some great schemes of regular services.
  • Make services more regular and reliable. People won’t use it if timings don’t fit – so DON’T say “Use it or lose it” – understand why it’s not used.
  • Investment - Investment – Investment - Forget about profits – it will come right eventually, but for now we need encouragement to get bums on seats or sharing space.
  • Dig up roads – make tracks for regular electric transport. Why are humans still reliant on cars?
  • Cross boundary or services tickets matched up to times of buses.
  • Bus buddies. Expansion of the Halesworth Bus Buddy model.
  • Rental electric car park – bus for longer journey
  • Undertake local surveys to ensure services match need. Think creatively and prepared to do something different and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Get Network Rail / Greater Anglia to improve access at rural railway stations – particularly Needham and Woodbridge. (Not a fresh idea but these organisations are not progressing these ideas).
  • Teach children to use public transport – parents often don’t do that,
Key themes emerging from conversations
  • People want to get “out and about” – they don’t want services coming to them.  Being able to get “out and about” is a sign of a healthy and well-balanced life.
  • Reduce rural isolation.
  • What transport is out there?  People are not always aware of what is already on their doorstep.
  • People want to know about all the transport options available to them.
  • People want flexibility and choice.  People want to get to the larger supermarkets, leisure centres and cinemas.
  • People like the “extra care” that some transport operators provide, and some people are willing to pay extra for this extra service.
  • People are willing to share transport and share taxis.
  • Good neighbour schemes feel inundated from too many transport requests.
  • There is duplication of some journeys, particularly when transporting people going to hospital appointments.
  • People want hospital and medical appointments to link with transport timings.
  • People want to make better use of vehicles.
  • Some people thought that shops should promote bus services (to get customers to them).
  • People want bus and train times to link up.

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