Vital new community bus service launches to help isolated get out and about
- Credit: Charlotte Moore
A new community transport service has been launched to help isolated people living in the villages north of Lowestoft to get out and about more easily.
Operated by BACT, and funded by East Suffolk Community Partnerships, Buzzabout is a new bookable bus service for residents in Gunton East, Somerleyton, Lound, Blundeston and St Olaves.
Using a 16-seat minibus, Buzzabout can be booked to pick people up at existing bus stops, from their home or anywhere else they need to take them wherever they want to go.
The fully accessible service, including for wheelchair users, the Buzzabout service operates on Mondays and Thursdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm and can be booked by calling BACT on 01986 896896, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
With a Transport and Travel group set up by East Suffolk’s Community Partnerships to identify parts of the district lacking in rural transport, a recent survey found that 23 per cent of residents in the villages to the north of Lowestoft do not have access to a car or traditional public transport, leaving them feeling isolated and dependent on other people.
Buzzabout has been launched as a direct response to this, to help people of all ages access shops, services and social activities more easily.
Norman Brooks, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “Introducing new on-demand transport options for those living in rural communities where there is limited public transport is one way in which we are tackling social isolation, which can have a real impact on people’s mental and physical health.”
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Buzzabout fares are discounted until July 2023 with a return trip from Lound to Lowestoft just £4.
Paul Ashdown, chairman of the Lowestoft and Northern Parishes Community Partnership who have contributed to the development of the service, said: “This service is for those in rural areas to get into surrounding villages and the town, but also encourages those in Lowestoft to use the service to visit family, friends and attend events or functions in the rural communities."
The new service launched on Sunday, July 3 at the 25th anniversary celebrations for Bungay-based BACT.
BACT manager Debbie Blowers said: “We are delighted to have received the funding from the East Suffolk Community Partnerships to run this vital service in the rural areas north of Lowestoft where bus services have been reduced and left passengers without easily accessible transport options."