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Big fall revealed in Norfolk bus route coverage




QUESTION MARK: The future of the Spalding to King's Lynn 505 bus service is uncertain after operator Statecoach announced 'a review of its operations'. Photo supplied.
QUESTION MARK: The future of the Spalding to King's Lynn 505 bus service is uncertain after operator Statecoach announced 'a review of its operations'. Photo supplied.

Bus use in Norfolk has fallen by almost 10 per cent over the last four years, new figures have revealed.

Just weeks after West Norfolk’s services were plunged into crisis by Stagecoach’s impending withdrawal, new data has shown that more than a million fewer miles are now being covered by the county network than in 2013,

But county transport officials stayed tightlipped about the trend yesterday, insisting it was a matter for commercial operators rather than them.

However, a Lynn councillor says a better bus network could reduce congestion.

The study, from the BBC’s Shared Data Unit, looked at bus usage in almost 100 local authority areas in England.

It showed that 27.3 million passenger journeys were undertaken across Norfolk during 2016-17, compared to 29.4 million in 2013-14.

That equates to a drop of 9.8 per cent in journeys, while the total number of miles covered has also fallen from 19.6 million to 18.4 million.

Last month, Norfolk county councillors blocked proposals to remove £500,000 worth of subsidies from bus services.

That came after hundreds opposed the idea in a public consultation, with one warning that cuts would set services back decades if they were implemented.

But, despite that, the authority yesterday refused to comment on the figures, claiming questions about them should be directed to operating companies instead.

However, the Government said it has given councils more powers to work with operators to improve services.

And campaigners have warned that some groups are at risk of being “abandoned” without any means of getting around by the decline.

Borough and county council officials are currently undertaking a study as part of work on a new transport strategy for Lynn.

But South Lynn councillor Alexandra Kemp has urged officials to look at her idea of an expanded bus lane network, which she claims could reduce congestion alongside the introduction of park and ride sites.



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