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Dismay at changes to bus services near university - which come in this weekend

PUBLISHED: 09:07 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 17 September 2019

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis joins councillor Roger Ryan and campaigners in protesting changes to two Konectbus services. Picture: Courtesy of Roger Ryan

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis joins councillor Roger Ryan and campaigners in protesting changes to two Konectbus services. Picture: Courtesy of Roger Ryan

Roger Ryan

Changes to a handful of bus services will leave elderly and vulnerable people isolated, it is feared.

Konectbus has decided to re-route four of its services through the UEA campus rather than serving Earlham Road near the Fiveways Roundabout, in a move it says will ensure a "punctual and attractive service".

The changes, which affect services 3 and 4 and the Airport and Costessey park and ride buses, come into effect from Sunday, September 22.

However, campaigners living near the bypassed stop have vowed to fight the changes, fearing they will leave less mobile bus-users isolated.

One of those is 78-year-old Margaret Nicholls, of Primula Drive, who relies on the bus stop as her only means of getting into the city.

She said: "I can not drive but at the moment I can get the bus in and out of the city and it isn't too far to walk. Without the stop where it is though it would be far too far for me to manage.

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"I'm not the only one though, several of the people on this estate have lived here for the best part of 40 years, so we do have an ageing population.

"Without it I would have to rely on taxis, which financially is just not possible."

Roger Ryan, Labour city councillor for the University ward, who along with Norwich South MP Clive Lewis is leading the campaign against the decision, said: "It will cause enormous problems for the elderly and the disabled, making it nearly impossible for some to take a journey into Norwich.

"It is time for the bus company to rethink this decision and support local people."

However, the bus provider has said the changes were necessary to keep the 3 and 4 services - which serve Watton and Mattishall respectively - punctual.

Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Konectbus, however, said: "We need to continue to maintain a punctual and attractive service for our many customers from rural areas. The level of congestion on Earlham Road means that this is increasingly difficult.

"There are local buses every 15 minutes along Earlham Road and whilst we are very sorry to say goodbye to the small number of users who have supported us on that section of route, there are alternatives available."

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