May 20 2013 Latest news:
Monday, January 21, 2013
A government minister will visit north Norfolk on Thursday to take a trip on the Coasthopper bus service, which is under pressure from funding cuts.
Transport minister Norman Baker has accepted an invitation from North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, and will this lunchtime board the bus at East Runton and travel to Blakeney.
The trip follows a meeting chaired by Mr Lamb last July at Sheringham, where councillors, transport officials and bus company operators gathered to discuss public service funding.
Coasthopper, run by Norfolk green and operating from King’s Lynn to Cromer, is also being hit hard by the concessionary bus scheme, with 70pc of its peak-season passengers getting free travel - a loss that cannot be recouped in full.
The problems are exacerbated by a £4.5m shortfall in government funding to Norfolk County Council, since administration of the concessionary fares moved to County Hall from district councils.
After the meeting, a delegation travelled to London to meet Mr Baker and invite him to use the Coasthopper service to understand its importance.
Mr Lamb said: “The minister was keen to come to Norfolk to hear about the issues in our area and we are looking forward to showing him the Coasthopper service.
“It is a vital service and we need to find ways to secure its future. We’ll be putting that point to him when he visits.”
A driver had to be rescued from a river in Thetford after the Ford Focus he was travelling in came off the road.
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