Changes to Norwich bus routes to come under spotlight at public meeting

Buses in Norwich will come under the spotlight at a public meeting tonight. Photo: Steve Adams

Buses in Norwich will come under the spotlight at a public meeting tonight. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Controversial changes to Norwich bus routes will come under the spotlight at a public meeting tonight, as pressure mounts on transport bosses to rethink the alterations.

First bosses announced a number of changes to its routes in September, including revisions to services 25.26 and 27, which connect the city centre to the University of East Anglia.

One of the most controversial changes saw the number 26 service no longer travelling around the Northfields estate in Earlham, which bus bosses said was because the vast majority of passengers wanted a more direct service to and from the UEA.

First instead created a new number 27 service, which does serve Northfields, although at reduced frequency than before.

Labour city councillors have carried out a survey in the area of what people thought of those changes - and 78pc of those surveyed said the service was now worse than before, with 64pc of those who replied not satisfied with the bus service.

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Roger Ryan, Labour city councillor for University ward, who will be chairing tonight's public meeting, said: 'It's time this community has the chance to question the bus company bosses and ensure they understand the strength of feeling about this issue.'

A spokesman for First said: 'The new 27 service is carrying approximately 170 passengers per day compared to the 25/26 Blue Line services that carry around 8,000 passengers per day.

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Even with this low number we have no plans to withdraw the service, indeed if passenger numbers go up we will be able to look at increasing the frequency and days of operation.

'In fact we have already received some feedback from passengers, welcoming the changes saying that they are pleased that there is now plenty of space for them to sit down, rather than having to stand on a busy bus.'

The meeting to discuss the issues will be held in St Anne's Church, Colman Road, from 7pm tonight.

• What do you think about the bus changes? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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