'It's ridiculous': bus cancellation could leave schoolchildren stranded

School children outside a bus station in Hadleigh

Scrapping the 84C service has led to people in Hadleigh becoming concerned that there may be no way to get to school via bus. - Credit: Janine Edgar

A bus service that allows young people to get from Hadleigh to a service running to Colchester for school is set to be cut in September.

The 84C bus service links Hadleigh to Nayland, allowing people to access the Sudbury to Colchester route, but set to be scrapped due to it being "no longer financially viable".

In 2020, the 971 bus that ran from Hadleigh to Colchester was stopped, but, after local backlash, operators Beestons were able to make a plan whereby the 84C from Hadleigh to Nayland would be used as a link to the Sudbury to Colchester bus route.

Flyer received by people who use the 84C bus service. 

Flyer received by people who use the 84C bus service. - Credit: Janine Edgar

Janine Edgar lives in Hadleigh, with her daughter who is in Year 8 at Colchester High School for Girls, and her son in year 10 at Colchester Royal Grammar School, and relies on the service to get them to school.

She said: “I can’t believe that Hadleigh does not have a regular service to Colchester, and the only service we’ve got is under threat yet again. 

“It’s just ridiculous! people can’t commute there for work, let alone school kids.

“These kids have been through lockdown, they’ve managed to get through that, the last thing they need, especially as my son will be in his GCSE year, is worrying about how to get to school."

Beestons, which operates the service, said: "Due to low passenger numbers the service is no longer financially viable."

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The current plans to scrap the service will affect at least 17 children, and with no sixth form in Colchester the options for higher education for young people in the area may be reduced by the transport issue.

Now, Janine, who is self-employed, says she is having to consider other ways of getting her children to school.

She said: “If there’s now a transport issue it has a huge knock-on effect to every other aspect of our lives. 

“The fallback is I may have to reduce my hours, which is lost income. 

"I work from eight until five normally, so I'm going to have to knock off at least two hours a day.

“I reduce my hours during the school holidays, but now I might have to consider less time off in the holidays with the kids, so that my income isn't affected."

As the service looks set to be cut in September, Janine says that the people who rely on the service are coming together to try and create contingency plans.

“Thankfully, there are a couple of other families that we’re thinking about doing a lift share with, but we’re all self-employed so that’s reduced income for at least three families.

“There should be a reliable bus service that we can depend on, not one that we have to put up a fight for.”