‘It’s profit before pensioners’ - angry villagers from Belton and Bradwell slam bus bosses
- Credit: James Bass
Voices and opinions were heard loud and clear at a public meeting held to discuss changes to bus schedules.
The resounding message from more than 75 residents of Belton, Burgh Castle and Bradwell was that a new service, which saw the number 7 bus only serve Beccles Road in the evening and at weekends, was not working.
And that they wanted a return to the previous system, or at least a compromise.
It comes after the number 7 between Great Yarmouth and Belton was replaced with the new X11, but instead of travelling down Beccles Road this service uses the new A12/A143 link road.
The move brought accusations of cutting the villages off, and these concerns were heard by First Bus managing director Steve Wickers and network manager Iain Rankine last Friday at Moorlands Primary Academy, Belton.
At the meeting, organised by Belton and Browston Parish Council and the East Norfolk Transport Users Association, the representatives from First were asked tough questions by the crowd.
Lee Staff, who previously campaigned against cutting school bus passes in the area, said: 'I do feel sorry for the pensioners, they have been left high and dry, it's profit before pensioners.'
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Rev Rosie Bunn, of All Saints Church in Belton, added that taking the bus service away was cutting people off, and could lead to isolation.
There was a lot of concern over the ability to get to doctors surgeries and the dentist, while one sixth form student said the new service had meant she was late for college regularly.
And others said the new service wasn't very busy, and there was no need for it to go all the way through to Norwich.
John Rudrum, parish council chairman, ran the meeting and insisted First Bus took the points on board.
He warned them that if they weren't going to reinstate the service, at least partially, then another company would swoop in to pick up the pieces.
And representatives from both Anglian and Konect bus companies were busy taking notes at the meeting, with both confirming they were watching the situation with interest.
Mr Wickers said it was clear people felt very strongly about the service. He said: 'We are quite happy to turn up and hear your views, that's a good start.
'We have said we will go back and see if we can make it work.'
Mr Rankine added: 'If we were not interested we would not be here.'