New £3.3m bus fleet in Norwich park and ride shake-up
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A major shake-up of Norwich's park and ride service will be launched in just over a week, with bosses having spent £3.3m on a new fleet of buses.
The new buses, along with improved frequency and free Wi-Fi are part of a multi-million deal which heralds radical changes to the city's park and ride.
Norfolk County Council has handed the contract to run park and ride services to Konectbus, which currently runs three routes, but will run all of them from Monday, September 7.
The company, which already runs the Costessey, Harford and Thickthorn services, is taking on the Norwich International Airport, Postwick and Sprowston services from Norse.
Konectbus has bought 18 new buses specifically to run on city centre services. The Dereham-based company also says that, by linking up cross city routes, passengers will get a better service and a new link to Norwich Railway Station.
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Young people, aged 16 to 19, are the big winners in terms of season tickets, with a £100 cut from the price of an annual season ticket from £375 to £275. Concession annual season tickets also get a big drop, from £500 a year to £275.
But the changes are coming at a cost for some, with a 10pc increase in adult annual season tickets, up from £500 to £550, while child annual tickets go up by £18.
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The on and off peak system is ditched, with tickets frozen at £3.50 (£3 with a Holdall card) for an adult ticket. At £1, tickets for children (aged five to 15) are 10p cheaper than the present price in cash and 20p cheaper when using Holdall. Young people aged 16 to 19 will pay £1.80 in cash (£1.60 with Holdall), down on the current £2.60 and £2.25.
There will also be a new discounted ticket for travelling into the city after 12pm, which is £2.50 for adults, 80p for children and £1.50 for 16 to 19-year-olds.
One major change is that the Costessey Park and Ride will now only call at the UEA and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Passengers will get their first glimpses of the new buses at a series of events this week. Between 7am and 10am they will be at the airport and Thickthorn park and ride sites on Tuesday, the Harford and Sprowston sites on Thursday and Postwick car park on Friday.
The fleet will also visit The Forum at lunchtime on Wednesday and next Saturday. when the week of events will be brought to a close with an official launch day and family fun day, from 10.30am until 4pm.
Gavin Hunter, Konectbus managing director, said, 'We are really proud to have been chosen by Norfolk County Council as the operator of the highly successful Norwich Park & Ride and want to make sure all current and future users have all the information they will need ready for the start of the new services.
'Engaging customers first hand is vitally important to the successful continuation and growth of an already well established city-centre travel facility.'
Stefan Gurney, chief executive of Norwich Business Improvement District, said: 'We are really hopeful that the revisions will see a better service for the city and we are really keen to work with Konectbus.'
• What do you think of the changes? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.