Thousands back Coasthopper petition plea, as talks to save West Norfolk routes continue

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Almost 10,000 people have now signed an online petition demanding the retention of the Coasthopper bus service, which runs to and from Lynn.

The surge in public support, which has seen the number of signatures nearly treble in the past week, comes amid fresh criticism of operator Stagecoach, who are set to pull out of the area in the spring.

West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long told the authority’s meeting last Thursday that talks were continuing between Norfolk County Council officials and other potential operators.

But he added: “Obviously it’s disappointing. For a company like Stagecoach to come to King’s Lynn, take over what I believe was a very good company in Norfolk Green and end up where they are doesn’t raise them very highly in my opinion.

“Those routes are vital to those who use them.”

He went on: “Unfortunately, we don’t all live in Norwich where all the subsidy seems to go.

“I do need to push harder for the people in West Norfolk for their buses but, until those commercial negotations are completed, there is little I can offer to that.

“Once that’s in the offing and we know what services are going to be provided, we can lobby and challenge and fight for better services.”

The current petition, wich is on the 38Degrees campaign website, calls on Norfolk County Council to work with the county’s remaining bus operators to secure the future of the Coasthopper service.

More than 9,300 people have so far backed the campaign, which argues the service offers “vital connections to allow people to do their shopping, or go out seeing friends”.

It adds: “The service operates all-year round and it must continue to operate with a new bus company and not get scrapped.”

The future of the borough’s bus network was plunged into crisis in January when Stagecoach announced a review of its entire Norfolk operation.

The company subsequently indicated it planned to pull out of the borough altogether by the end of April.