Decision day over Norwich park-and-ride fare hikes

Park and Ride buses at Norwich Bus Station.; photo by Adrian Judd

Park and Ride buses at Norwich Bus Station.; photo by Adrian Judd - Credit: Archant Norfolk 2011

A decision which will pave the way for an Oyster-style smartcard on Norwich's park-and-ride buses is set to be rubber-stamped today, leading to price hikes for some travellers.

But the axe is also soon to fall on free travel on park-and-ride buses currently enjoyed by staff who work at Norfolk County Council.

The government has given Norfolk County Council £2.6m to improve bus travel and one of the plans is for an electronic smartcard ticketing system for all six park-and-ride sites. Passengers would be encouraged to pay by smartcard, with an adult return ticket at peak times – currently £2.40 – being replaced with an unlimited travel day ticket costing £3, or £3.50 if paid in cash.

Peak fares would apply before 9.30am and between 4pm and 6pm, with the cost of a peak four-week ticket climbing from £41 to £57.50 – up 40pc – and an annual pass from £410 to £500, a rise of 22pc.

But council bosses say the price structure has been designed to offer a lower price to those who travel more regularly and fares will still be cheaper than taking a commercial bus or parking for a long period in the city centre.

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The Norwich Highways Agency Joint Committee has already given the go-ahead for changes at the Norwich International airport park-and-ride site, but will today be asked to ratify new prices at the other five sites around Norwich – Thickthorn, Harford, Costessey, Sprowston and Postwick.

Meanwhile, a perk which county council staff have enjoyed is to be scrapped. At the moment staff can use park-and-ride for free to get to work as part of a Green Travel incentive to keep cars off the road and reduce pressure on parking at County Hall and nearby areas such as Trowse.

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But, from October, that is to be withdrawn, as will a staff shuttle bus from Harford and the 100 bus which runs between the city centre and County Hall. Instead, from September staff will be able to use the Postwick/Sprowston service, which will stop at Bracondale. but they will now have to pay.

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