The Katch on-demand electric bus scheme has been extended to the end of 2022. The taxi-bus route launched in the Spring of 2021 as a 12-month pilot, connecting Wickham Market rail station, Wickham Market village, and Framlingham. It provides bookable transport via a mobile app or by telephone, but with fares in line with a bus service.
Last November an additional route was launched with stops added at Tunstall, Snape Maltings and Snape village. In addition to the 6-month extension, Katch is adding a stop in Blaxhall near the Youth Hostel in School Road.
The pilot extension is designed to encourage more uptake and to allow Suffolk County Council to establish a truer picture of demand as Katch was launched whilst some Covid restrictions were still in place.
Along with the new stop at Blaxhall, several new enhancements are being introduced, including group tickets for return journeys, a rewards card programme and upgrades to the booking app.
- Group tickets for two adults and two children, or four adults, will be discounted by £4 on return journeys.
- Rewards cards will enable passengers to get their seventh journey free.
- The booking app is being updated to take online payments.
New Operating Hours
From 16th May there will no longer be a Sunday service. On Saturdays, Katch will operate from 10am to 8pm. Weekday operating hours remain unchanged, 7.30am to 8pm.
More details are available at Katchalift.com
Katch is led by Suffolk County Council in partnership with operator CabsSmart, and with support from East Suffolk Council, Framlingham Town Council, Wickham Market Parish Council, Community Rail Network, and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership.
Councillor Richard Smith said: “I am pleased that we have been able to extend the pilot of Katch. This is an innovative service which provides on-demand transport links for a rural area in an environmentally friendly way.
“Extending the length of the pilot scheme will allow us to gain a more representative picture of demand, including summer visitors, something we could not do in the immediate aftermath of lockdown and as we endeavour to get back to normal.
“By extending the service to Blaxhall we are giving more people a chance to use it and help stimulate demand – something we need to generate if the service is to mature into long-term viability.”