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Haverhill public transport changes see some bus services dropped and a new route introduced

Bus route changes in Haverhill have come under fire after some services were dropped and a ‘poorly designed’ new route introduced in changes which take effect tomorrow.

Stagecoach East has withdrawn its ‘unsustainable’ X13, 13A, 13B and 13C services, while the 13 service’s route has been revised to provide a direct and faster link between Haverhill and Cambridge.

At the same time the operator has introduced a new hourly Haverhill town bus service – the 131 – to run Monday to Saturday.

Haverhill bus station. Picture: Mecha Morton
Haverhill bus station. Picture: Mecha Morton

As part of the changes the new 13 route no longer goes around the southern part of Haverhill or along Howe Road, while the new 131 town service is ‘basically a one-way service’, according to town councillor John Burns.

“If you live (say) at Burton End you need to catch a bus to Sainsbury’s and change (or stay on the) bus to get to the town centre, which firstly will go around most of the town before getting there – a journey time of some 30-40 minutes on what is possibly a 10 minute walk for most,” said Cllr Burns, who feels the new circular route is poorly designed.

Stagecoach East said it introduced the new timetables ‘to reflect post-pandemic travel patterns’, adding: “Bus use in the UK has only partially recovered since the pandemic.

Cllr John Burns. Picture: Richard Marsham
Cllr John Burns. Picture: Richard Marsham

“We have been working to re-base local bus networks to take account of changes in people’s travel habits, lower passenger numbers, rising costs and labour challenges. This will ensure we can provide a sustainable network that we hope can grow over the longer-term.”

A Stagecoach East spokesperson said: “We were pleased to be able to introduce the new 131 service to serve Haverhill town and have tried our best to make this route as close to the old 13 town service as possible.

“We always aim to make journey time on our buses competitive with that of a car, to ensure greater passenger numbers. The old 13 route acted as a town bus for Haverhill as well as an interurban link to Cambridge, which created a very long journey time. We have managed to reduce the journey time from Cambridge to Haverhill by roughly 15 minutes with the new 131 route.

“We are committed to the communities we serve and always welcome customer feedback to improve our network.”