A new dawn for Norwich’s multi-million-pound park and ride scheme but what do commuters think?
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015
A multi-million-pound investment marks a new dawn for Norwich's park and ride services, Jemma Walker took to the bus to find out what commuters thought.
Konectbus now provides the city with all of its park and ride services for the first time and more than £3 million has been splashed on new comfortable buses, free Wi-Fi for travellers and extra stops.
Alongside the 18 bus fleet and new stops including Castle Meadow, Tombland, Anglia Square and Norwich Airport, changes in the ticketing system have left shoppers and commuters torn.
David Jordan, a Commercial Officer working with Konnectbus, said: 'Norwich park and ride was very successful and that success has varied over the years, now we want it to be back to its best and we've built a system from the best bits.'
'The idea of the new service is that it takes you wherever you need to go in town and includes next stop announcements and media screens – although we are having a few teething issues with these at the moment.'
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On and off peak tickets have been scrapped, simplifying the previously confusing prices with new rates charging £3.50 per adult, £1.10 for children and £1.80 for concessions.
Juliette Pateman, 50, from King's Lynn said: 'The buses are very nice, on time, prompt and comfy. It's just so convenient and the Thickthorn one is so quick, the prices are very reasonable and we can get loads of shopping in.'
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Travellers experiencing the scheme for the first time were very excited about the introduction of new stops. Kathleen Riches, 64, from Tasburgh, said: 'You used to just get dumped at the bus station but now there's new stops you can get where you need to go a lot easier.'
Regular park and ride visitor, Christine Ward from Eaton added: 'Last week I was on jury service and I had to walk the long way from the bus station to the courts. That night it poured with rain and the walk back in the dark was awful. Castle Meadow is much easier.'
But the comfortable seating and smooth driving comes with a ticket price increase that's raised the eyebrows of some visitors.
Sally Phillips, 63, from Wymondham, said: 'I'm astonished it's considered to be peak until 12pm, it's ridiculous. It will affect people who work in the city.'
Holidaymaker John Hine, 74, from the Netherlands asked: 'We've used Stratford Avon park and rise and it's only been £2 for the both of us together, here it's £7 – why is it so much more expensive in this area?'
The new simple, sustainable service connects more parts of the city and Konectbus hopes to return the service to its former glory.