Cash boost for Norfolk bus schemes

A government funding boost of �480,000 has been granted for community transport schemes which are seen as Norfolk's long-term replacement for struggling subsidised bus services.

The sum was given to Norfolk County Council as part of a �10m national fund which will be distributed next year.

It matches a figure previously awarded to help the authority develop more 'demand-responsive' services as an alternative to traditional transport schemes.

In September, the council published a list of 17 under-used services which it wanted to scale back in order to save �500,000 from its rural transport budget for next year – with another �200,000 of savings planned for 2013-14.

They include reduced evening and Sunday services from Norwich to areas including Diss, North Walsham, Mulbarton, Wymondham, Cromer, Bungay and Poringland.

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A public consultation on those proposals ended on November 30, and the comments are now being examined.

But with cutbacks expected to conventional routes, the council hopes to build up the network of pre-booked 'dial-a-ride' and Flexibus services to fill the gaps.

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Graham Plant, cabinet member for transportation, said: 'This is excellent news and will allow us to work with more communities to develop long-term transport solutions where conventional bus services are no longer the best solution, or where they can't be afforded.

'We will be working with the new Norfolk Community Transport Association and bus operators to find the best way of using this additional funding.'

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