Spotlight on Coasthopper bus route tonight

Coasthopper bus when the service was first launched in 2009. PHOTO: IAN BURT COPY:Annabelle Dickso

Coasthopper bus when the service was first launched in 2009. PHOTO: IAN BURT COPY:Annabelle Dickson FOR:EDP News EDP pics © 2009 (01603)772434 - Credit: IAN BURT

A public meeting is being held tonight to discuss the bus service which serves the rural coastal villages along the north Norfolk coast.

Coasthopper bus

Coasthopper bus - Credit: Evening News © 2009

Tourists and visitors to the coast rely on the services which run from King's Lynn to Hunstanton and then through to Wells-next-the-Sea and Cromer.

But John Dobson, a Norfolk County Councillor says that changes introduced around 18 months ago when the route's bus operators switched hands were inconvenient for passengers.

He said: 'The new timetable didn't work for those using the train from the station at King's Lynn, and often the route available between King's Lynn and Hunstanton wasn't direct. It stopped at villages on the way.

'Before, for example, second home owners had no reason to bring their cars to Norfolk. They would travel here on the train and use the bus for the rest of their journey and throughout their stay on the coast.'

He added: 'But that became difficult when things changed with the bus routes.'

Ahead of tonight's meeting in Thornham, Mr Dobson also explained progress was being made at resolving the issue but all the separate elements still need 'fine tuning' and 'brought together'.

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Representatives from both Stagecoach and west Norfolk-based Lynx operate coastal bus services have also agreed to attend.

While there has been previous criticism that the bus timetables didn't align with trains at King's Lynn railway station, a spokesman for Stagecoach said amendments had been made.

In November 2015, a new timetable better aligned with the trains was introduced and that was updated in March, and tweaked again this month.

He said: 'The London trains arrive at 21 minutes past the hour off peak and buses depart the bus station at 30 minutes past the hour on service 10.

'If they [passengers] miss this connection then there is a Coasthopper service that departs at 45 minutes past the hour through to Hunstanton.'

Meanwhile Julian Patterson, a director for Lynx, said it offers a more direct service between King's Lynn and Hunstanton that only stops in Heacham.

He said: 'Passengers have eight buses an hour between King's Lynn and Hunstanton, 20 years ago there were two. It seems that people along the coast beyond Hunstanton also want a faster option to King's Lynn.'

Tonight's meeting starts at 6.30pm at Thornham Village Hall, High Street, Thornham.

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