£250,000 drive to make us try the bus

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Transport chiefs are to spend nearly £250,000 to encourage more people to take the bus in Norfolk. Norfolk County Council has teamed up with five major operators, First, Anglian, Sanders, Norfolk Green and Konectbus, to promote the benefits of bus travel.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Transport chiefs are to spend nearly £250,000 to encourage more people to take the bus in Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council has teamed up with five major operators, First, Anglian, Sanders, Norfolk Green and Konectbus, to promote the benefits of bus travel.

The "It's Time to Try the Bus" campaign, which will run until October, will feature TV and radio advertisements and posters on the sides of buses.

There will also be promotional offers and competitions while the campaign is running.

But despite blowing the trumpet of private firms, none of the companies involved are funding any of the adverts.

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Most of the cash has come from a ring-fenced government reward

grant in recognition of increasing satisfaction with bus services in Norfolk.

The county has bucked the national trend and seen bus usage increase by 4.5pc, while latest performance figures show that eight out of 10 buses run on time.

Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said the campaign would be money well spent as many of the Norfolk's bus routes were subsidised from the public purse.

"We have had good results from similar campaigns and the more people who use the bus, the less subsidy we will have to pay," he said. "This campaign seeks to remind people of the benefits of travelling by bus and encourage those who don't to try it.

"There are huge benefits to bus travel - it's often cheaper than travelling by car, saves the hassle of parking, it's better for the environment and could significantly reduce congestion problems if enough people turn to travelling by bus,"

he added.

Tracy Jessop, head of passenger transport at Norfolk County Council, urged motorists to give buses a go.

She said: "If you use the bus instead of your car for just some of your journeys you may notice a significant difference in stress levels.

"You don't have to search for a parking space, you can read a

book or a magazine, text friends, listen to your iPod or simply sit and relax - a much better way to start your

day or unwind on your journey

home."

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