Call for buses in Norwich to be brought back under public control

PUBLISHED: 14:48 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:48 10 October 2019

Green councillors want to see buses back under public control. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Green councillors want to see buses back under public control. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A call has been made for the millions of pounds being sought to transform transport in and around Norwich to be partially used to bring buses back under public control.

Council officers have unveiled a wishlist of projects they hope will secure a share of £1.2bn of government cash from the Transforming Cities Fund.

The money is up for grabs to 12 cities who can convince the government their schemes will encourage people to travel via low carbon, sustainable means of transport, with a focus on public transport, cycling and walking.

Schemes Transport for Norwich officers want to submit include a network of mobility hubs, a revamp of Castle Meadow, more public transport routes at Norwich Airport and Norwich Research Park and an extension of Thickthorn Park and Ride.

Members of the Transforming Cities joint committee will be asked to agree the bid next week, but Green councillors have their own 'complementary proposals'.

They want Norwich to introduce electric or hydrogen powered buses to cut carbon and air pollution and to take a leaf out of London's books by franchising bus services.

Green city councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil DidsburyGreen city councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Denise Carlo, transport spokesperson for the city council Green group, said: "Whilst we welcome the proposals for greatly improved public transport infrastructure, Norwich must move to clean renewable energy for powering buses on bus corridors selected for improvement."

And she added that franchising could be the way to get better bus services.

She said: "Franchising would enable the county council to specify bus timetables, fares, and bus standards."

"There are too many instances where city buses don't turn up, or bus operators decide to change services at short notice."

Martin Wilby, chairman of the joint committee, said: "We welcome the views shared and are grateful for the broad support shown by Green councillors for our proposals.

"Our application is based around clean transport and zero carbon buses is most certainly an aspiration shared by Transport for Norwich partners.

"But it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment further at this stage as the feedback received from all stakeholders will be presented for consideration by the committee."

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