Bus passengers will have more choice about how they travel around parts of West Norfolk from next week after a new independent operator launched its own service.
Lynx will begin running its own, mostly hourly, services between Lynn and Hunstanton from Monday and hopes to expand to other routes in the future.
The company, which is based on the Saddlebow industrial estate, has been formed by co-directors Steve Challis, Julian Patterson and Andy Warnes.
The trio worked for First in the 1990s before setting up Konectbus, which operates a service between Lynn and Swaffham, 15 years ago.
They sold that firm in 2010 and Mr Patterson said they had been looking for an opportunity to return to the West Norfolk market.
He said yesterday: “I’m West Norfolk born and bred. We know the area and we thought we can offer an alternative.”
Initially, the company will be running a seven day a week service between Lynn and Hunstanton, which will also stop in South Wootton, Dersingham, Ingoldisthorpe, Snettisham and Heacham.
On weekdays and Saturdays, the first service is scheduled to leave Lynn at 6.25am with the final departure at 6.10pm.
The first and last journeys from Hunstanton will be at 7.25am and 7.10pm respectively. Services will begin an hour later and end an hour earlier on Sundays.
Norfolk Green already run two services through villages between the two towns, as well as the fast Coasthopper route.
And Mr Patterson said: “There’s quite a lot of buses on that route, but we’re offering something different in that ours will be coming along the northern bypass (instead of through Gaywood), so we’re offering faster journeys.”
They also plan to offer monthly and 10-trip tickets, which they believe will be popular with students, commuters and shoppers alike.
Mr Patterson said they were already looking at ways in which the service could be expanded both along the Lynn to Hunstanton route and into other areas where they could make a difference.
He said: “Norfolk Green has got a monopoly on most routes and in the rest of the county there’s usually two operators.”
Although he said he could not give specific details for commercial reasons, he said they were looking at options around the Lynn area where they feel they can offer more journeys and help to keep fares “in check.”
He also believes their independent status could help to win them passengers from Norfolk Green, who were bought by the Stagecoach group in 2013.
He said: “We’re 100 per cent local and some people like to shop local these days. We’re not a PLC.”
Leaflets promoting the new service have been distributed along the route and are also available from the Lynn bus station, tourist information centres and libraries.
More details can also be found on the company’s website, www.lynxbus.co.uk.