Bus service providers to be scrutinised

Members of Norfolk County Council are backing a proposal to put the county's biggest bus service provider under scrutiny.

Members of Norfolk County Council are backing a proposal to put the county's biggest bus service provider under scrutiny.

The county council's Cabinet Scrutiny Committee has welcomed plans to set up a joint working group with Norwich City Council, South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils to review the current level and quality of local bus service provision in the Norwich area by First Eastern Buses and other providers.

At the meeting, to be held on Tuesday March 20, councillors will propose up to four members to represent Norfolk County Council on the joint working group, which aims to identify any further steps that could be taken to deliver the first class bus service which the area expects.

At a previous meeting, Cabinet Scrutiny Committee members heard views that, despite recent improvements in punctuality and performance, First Eastern Counties Omnibus Company Ltd is providing an inadequate and expensive service using a substandard fleet.

The recent fare increases also disadvantage less well off people and deter use of public transport, which goes against a county-wide aim to encourage alternatives to car transport.

Irene Macdonald, Chair of the Cabinet Scrutiny Committee, said: "One of the county council's key environmental aims is to encourage a shift towards more sustainable transport, including appropriate public transport, both for the council's own employees and for the wider Norfolk community.

Most Read

"Scrutinising the current bus service provision available to passengers is a sign of councillors' commitment to securing a reliable, regular and affordable bus service for passengers in Norwich and further afield."

Cabinet Scrutiny Committee members will also consider what progress is being made with the county council's e-Government and ICT (Information & Communications Technology) programme. They will check on what is happening with new services being delivered through the Customer Service Centre and the internet, including:

t Blue Badge services (for parking for people with mobility problems), available online and by phone.

t Extension to broadband access aimed to provide faster, more efficient information sharing.

t An online map service, with details of local services and amenities.