Self-service bus ticket machines taken out of action in Norwich
Bus passengers have been told to expect extra delays after the self-service ticket machines in Norwich city centre were taken out of action in a bid by Norfolk County Council to save money.
Norfolk Buswatch, which campaigns on behalf of bus users in the county, has criticised the council's decision to discontinue the 'Quick Tickets' machines.
Fifteen machines are no longer in use including four each in St Stephen's Street and Castle Meadow, two at Norwich bus station, and one at Norwich rail station, the UEA, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Theatre Street and Red Lion Street.
Passengers who attempt to use the machines are being told to buy tickets from the bus driver.
The county council said it would save �25,000 a year in maintenance, cash collection and other costs.
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But Norfolk Buswatch spokesman John Woods said that it would 'inevitably cause greater delays for public transport during busy periods'.
He added: 'All major bus operators' tickets were available from the machines including NCC Park/Ride, Norfolk Green, Anglian, First and Konectbus.
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'The machines were designed to speed up boarding times by enabling passengers to purchase their tickets before travelling, and they were situated at busy points across the city. It meant the driver was not bombarded with small change, but it now means that boarding will be even slower. All passengers boarding now, it would seem, will have to negotiate with the driver.'
The machines were installed in 2005 as part of a bigger �9.5m county council project to improve public transport in and around Norwich.
Norfolk County Council spokesman Susie Lockwood said: 'This will save the council around �25,000 a year in maintenance, cash collection and other costs.
'We're sorry to those people who preferred using this method to buy their tickets, but a combination of increasing pressure on our budgets and the relatively low numbers of passengers who used the machines led us to take this decision. People will continue to be able to buy tickets from the driver on the bus.'
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