Dismay among travellers set to miss bus

Bus passengers between Norwich and Wymondham, Hethersett, Cringleford and Eaton will be left high and dry after it emerged that First is to cancel their evening and Sunday services.

Bus passengers between Norwich and Wymondham, Hethersett, Cringleford and Eaton will be left high and dry after it emerged that First is to cancel their evening and Sunday services.

Norfolk County Council says it is urgently seeking a replacement company to run the route.

Civic leaders say the decision deals a huge blow to those who rely on the services.

Although people report that the buses are often packed, First has gone ahead with the cancellations a year after pressure from South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon made it back-track on a decision at the last minute.

From February 18 the daytime 14, 14A and 15 services will finish at 6pm, forcing people in Wymondham to catch the train into Norwich and those in villages and suburbs to use their cars.

Yesterday, John Woods, vice- chairman of environmental lobbyist Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group, said First's decision flew in the face of logic and would cause immense difficulties.

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He added: "Last time they tried this there was a big outcry and the MP got involved and helped save the service, but this time First has snuck in and deregistered the service on the quiet.

"This is a very busy route during daytime and early evenings, and I cannot see any justification for what they are doing. They've only given a few weeks' notice, so a lot of people won't have time to come up with an alternative.

"It's a pretty essential route. There are lots of college students who don't drive who use it, and it will force a lot of people commuting to work into their cars."

A First spokesman said the company believed passenger numbers in the evenings and on Sundays did not justify the services continuing.

County council spokeswoman Melanie Dye said: "We are currently looking for a replacement. We ideally want a like-for-like service with same timetable, initially looking at a short-term replacement contract from February 18 to August 31 as this is an urgently-required replacement."

Wymondham mayor Joe Mooney said: "This is very disappointing news for people in this town. It will be a

huge blow to those who rely on the service.

"The number 14 is a very convenient link with Norwich and is used by a lot of people. Scrapping it will just force many into cars."