‘It just seems to be going backwards’ - Double buggy won’t fit on Norwich’s new £1.8m fleet of First buses

Eaton resident Gill Smith pictured with her twin grandchildren Samuel and Amelia Smith (3) and their

Eaton resident Gill Smith pictured with her twin grandchildren Samuel and Amelia Smith (3) and their pushchair which does not fit on the new buses. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A new £1.8m fleet of double-deckers aimed to encourage more people to use the bus.

Eaton resident Gill Smith pictured with her twin grandchildren Samuel and Amelia Smith (3) and their

Eaton resident Gill Smith pictured with her twin grandchildren Samuel and Amelia Smith (3) and their pushchair which does not fit on the new buses. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

But an Eaton grandmother has already identified a problem with the nine new Pink Line services for First Eastern Counties - they will not fit a double buggy on board.

Gill Smith, 71, of Osborne Road, regularly used the route from Eaton to Anglia Square when her three-year-old twin grandchildren Amelia and Samuel were visiting.

But when the new buses came into service this month, she discovered their buggy would not fit in the designated bay on board, as the position of a metal post made the area too narrow.

The firm has admitted that the bus design meant Mrs Smith and her husband Peter, 78, could not take the buggy on board.


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However, they insisted it would affect very few types of pushchair, and said customer services could tell her what type of service was operating if she rang before a bus journey.

Mrs Smith said that staff at First had been very polite, but that this was not good enough and having to phone in advance was not an adequate compromise.

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'It's not the most convenient thing as with children you don't always know when you're going to go out,' she said. 'The buses all look very pretty, but I just can't go that way now if I have the children which is a nuisance.

'It just seems to be going backwards rather than going forwards.'

She added she was concerned that wheelchairs may experience similar difficulties, as it was a hospital route.

Steve Wickers, business director for First Eastern Counties, said the buggy was larger than 'normal size'.

'We operate different types of buses in Eastern Counties, all with different dimensions and layouts of interiors,' he said. 'But in normal circumstances, we can accommodate the majority of buggies, pushchairs and wheelchairs with their different shapes and sizes.'

He admitted the buggy would not fit into the allocated area on one vehicle type that First operates, but said customer services could advise her on which vehicle types were running if she rang them to try to 'avoid any inconvenience going forward'.

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