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Call for axed bus route to be brought back

PUBLISHED: 12:50 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 05 March 2020

The First 26 bus no longer calls at Carrow Park. Picture: Edward Starr

The First 26 bus no longer calls at Carrow Park. Picture: Edward Starr

Edward Starr Photographer

People have called for bus bosses to restore a service which was temporarily suspended because of building work - and then scrapped altogether.

Green city councillor Ben Price. Picture: Norwich City CouncilGreen city councillor Ben Price. Picture: Norwich City Council

The First bus 26 service used to pass through the area around Carrow Road to serve the people living around Norwich City's stadium, including in the flats on Geoffrey Watling Way.

However, during work on new homes at Canary Quay, buses were temporarily suspended - and First subsequently stopped that service calling in the area completely.

Paul Constable, from Geoffrey Watling Way, has started a petition calling for reinstatement.

He said: "The work finished and we asked First when the buses would be running again they said the service had been discontinued.

Geoffrey Watling Way, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodGeoffrey Watling Way, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

"But there are people here who need that service.

"There are students here who used it to get to the UEA and families who used it."

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Broadland Housing, behind the Carrow Quay scheme, has also called for the service to be reinstated.

Ben Price, Green city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said some £250,000 had been spent on a bus gate and toucan crossing when homes in the area were built - yet the bus gate was now not being used.

He said: "First buses need to up their game. I've often waited for this service, only to find the bus cancelled. How can we encourage residents to get out of their cars, when the bus company lets them down?"

But Chris Speed, First's head of operations, said: "Back in May 2019 we temporarily withdrew our 26 service from Carrow Park due to the construction work that was taking place at the time, in addition we are not permitted access to the area on match days due to excessive congestion generated by local and travelling football fans.

"This circumstance has a detrimental effect on the reliability of the service, which is why we don't serve Morrisons on the main road prior to and while a game is on.

"The change in route has improved reliability which is why we made it a permanent fixture.

"For residents located in Carrow Park, it is only a five minute walk from the area to the main road to join up with bus services into and out of the city."

Mr Constable has set up a petition calling for reinstatement, which can be signed by emailing paulconstable1948@gmail.com

MORE: Norwich could get 50 new buses if bid for transport cash millions succeeds

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