10/01/2012

Norfolk rural transport cutbacks confirmed

Norfolk County Council have confirmed plans to cutback funding for rural bus services by £500,000 from April 2012.

Following on from the public consulatation that has been going on since September 2011 and provided they are confirmed through the County Council's budget approval process, the changes will come into effect from 12 April 2012.

Support for these services is being withdrawn because Norfolk County Council has to cut £700,000 from its rural transport budget - £500,000 in 2012-13 and £200,000 in 2013-14. The council needs to find overall savings of nearly £75m over the next two years.

By working closely with bus operators the council has been able to minimise the impact on passengers and communities in 2012-13. Significant savings are being made without a direct effect on journeys, and almost all the service reductions are limited to Sundays and evenings. Altogether 143 financially supported services were investigated, with the vast majority unaffected.

Graham Plant, Cabinet member for planning and transportation said: "We know that rural buses can be a lifeline to the communities they serve, which is why earlier this year we scaled back the savings from £1m to £700,000 over two years.

"We need to find £500,000 of this next year (2012-13) and the fact that only 17 services are directly affected across the whole county reflects a lot of hard work and the excellent support and cooperation we have received from bus operators. Any cut in service is bound to be bad news for some people, but we have done our best to choose routes and times where the journeys being lost are not critical."

The affected services (details below) were chosen after taking account of factors including the availability of alternative public transport, passenger numbers, car ownership levels, age range, income levels and social needs. Other considerations included the importance of the route for work or education, essential medical and food shopping, and whether the service could be run more commercially or at reduced subsidy.

An outline of the changes to take effect from 12 April:

Simonds 1,2 and 118. Diss-Long Stratton-Norwich. No evening or Sunday service from Diss to Norwich. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 7pm) journeys from Long Stratton to Norwich.

Sanders 5. Holt-Cromer-Mundesley-North Walsham. Fewer Sunday journeys from October to May.

Sanders 5A. North Walsham-Coltishall-Spixworth-Norwich. Fewer Sunday journeys.

First 6,7. Belton and Bradwell-Great Yarmouth. Fewer evening (after 7pm) journeys.

Sanders 9, X8. Holt-Melton Constable-Fakenham-King's Lynn. No winter Sunday services.

First 10B and Anglian 10B. Norwich-Lakenham-Tuckswood-Mulbarton. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 8pm) journeys.

First 14B. Norwich-Hethersett-Wymondham. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 8pm) journeys.

Sanders 44. Sheringham-Cromer-Aylsham-Norwich. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 7pm) journeys.

Anglian 121. Eaton Village-Norwich. No Sunday service.

Anglian 581. Beccles-Burgh St Peter-Great Yarmouth. Wheatacre, Burgh St Peter and Aldeby to be served by alternative pre-booked transport.

Anglian 587. Norwich-Stoke Holy Cross-Poringland. Fewer Sunday services.

Anglian 588. Halesworth-Bungay-Norwich. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 7.30pm) journeys.

Norfolk Green. King's Lynn town services. Fewer late night (after 9pm) services.

Coasthopper. Hunstanton-Wells-Sheringham-Cromer. Fewer services from October to March.

King's Lynn Ferry. West Lynn-King's Lynn. Fewer crossings likely.

These changes are subject to refinement and more detail about new timetables will be available in February. Passengers are advised to check with the local operator next month, and to visit the council's website for up-to-date information, we will of course keep you updated here on ABB too.

i Norfolk County Council