Bus firm accused over West Norfolk village service cuts

Tilney All Saints village sign
Tilney All Saints village sign

Concerns over cuts to bus services through a West Norfolk village are not being addressed, a parish council leader has claimed.

Community leaders in Tilney All Saints have accused operator First of being “ignorant” about the impact of changes to the Excel service, which links it to Lynn and Peterborough.

But the company claims the measures have made the service more reliable.

The village is now covered by an hourly service, instead of half-hourly, following the implementation of a new timetable last month.

More than 1,000 people signed an online petition against the measures, which it claimed are benefiting urban areas over rural ones.

And parish council chairman Andy Laughton said their own correspondence with the operator on the issue had not been properly answered.

In a letter to First, which the Lynn News has seen, he said a villager had been put at risk of losing her job because of reduced early morning services.

He went on: “Half our village residents are over 65, many of these pensioners are totally reliant on the bus.

“Despite £27 million apparently being invested in local transport, the bus services for our village are constantly being eroded, making life increasingly difficult for those people who have no other means of transport.”

Mr Laughton was also critical of the display of timetable information which listed the Tilney stop as being in Terrington St John.

He added: “We wonder what the actual priorities of the ‘service’ providers are.

“They seem to be actively encouraging cuts to our services, to be woefully ignorant of their own service and have an active policy of driving customers away, and not in the right direction.”

Chris Speed, head of operations for First Eastern Counties, said: “Although it is still early days, the changes seem to be working and punctuality has improved significantly.

“Congestion is still a major concern along the A47 but the additional running time is helping make the service more punctual and reliable.

“Although the majority of our customers travel between major centres, we know many residents of smaller settlements along the A47 use Excel for education, work and leisure purposes.

“This is why we have maintained an hourly service to all the villages, seven days per week.”