Conference discusses potential ways ahead for rural public transport in Suffolk

Published

A conference examining rural public transport in Suffolk has been held in Ipswich.

Suffolk Rural Transport Conversation

Delegates and speakers at the Rural Transport Conversation held recently at Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre. (Picture: Suffolk County Council).

The Rural Transport Conversation, organised by Suffolk County Council, saw more than 70 people attend a day-long discussion about the issues facing services and potential ways forward.

It was held at Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre and attendees included public and community transport providers from the council, and outside bodies including the National Community Transport Association, Community Action Suffolk, and Transport East.

There were presentations on how demand responsive transport (DRT) has been introduced in Kent by the county council there and operator Go2, a similar scheme in Swaffham, Norfolk, a route-planning programme by BT and the work of the National Community Transport Association.

Bungay-based Bact Community Transport spoke about the issues facing community transport in Suffolk, which includes rising fuel prices, a shortage of volunteer drivers, and people still wary of leaving their homes post-covid.

There were also presentations from Community Action Suffolk, Connecting Communities, and Transport East.

Attendees also heard from service user Shirley Rodrigues, of Dennington, near Framlingham, who became dependent on rural public transport after losing her sight.

Councillor Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Transport Strategy and Waste, said:

“In such a rural county as Suffolk public and community transport has a particularly important role to play.

“This event was very worthwhile as it was an opportunity to exchange ideas and views and discuss possible ways ahead in how services can be delivered in the future.”