Double-sided bus stops at rail station

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A £380,000 scheme to improve bus links into Norwich from the railway station gets underway next week.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A £380,000 scheme to improve bus links into Norwich from the railway station gets under way next week.

The three-month EU-backed project will increase the choice of buses which passengers can catch into the city with the creation of a "double-sided" bus stop.

That means commuters who currently have to choose between services from the station or Thorpe Road will be able to get on either.

A new bus stop lay-by on the south side of Thorpe Road and a large sheltered waiting area between the bus stops on the station forecourt and Thorpe Road will be built.

Within the waiting area there will be seating for 15 people and two dedicated wheelchair spaces, a ticket vending machine that will help reduce boarding times and a sign giving real-time information on bus arrival and departure times.

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Cycle facilities will also be improved outside the station with a new bike shelter including 20 covered stands built in the existing cycle parking area on the station forecourt.

During the works, which will be carried out by May Gurney through the county council's planning and transportation partnership, the station forecourt bus stop will be moved for safety reasons to a temporary position close to the steps leading from the station forecourt to Riverside.

Later, the Thorpe Road bus stops for both inbound and outbound services will be temporarily moved closer to Lower Clarence Road.

Norwich is one of five European cities that makes up the local consortium also known as SMILE aimed at improving sustainable travel in urban areas.

Other cities are Malmo in Sweden, Potenza in Italy, Tallinn in Estonia and Suceava in Romania.

Mike Payne, scheme project manager from Mott MacDonald, which is part of the planning and transportation partnership, said the idea was to improve facilities and travel opportunities for passengers.

"You can wait in comfort in one place and take whichever bus comes first," he said. "At the moment people waiting at the station forecourt effectively miss out on half the buses heading to the city.

"This means that people have a choice of at least 12 buses rather than having to decide between those on Thorpe Road and those on the station forecourt."

For more information on Civitas, log on to www.civitas-initiative.org