Special bus charter to ensure the people of Norwich get a high-quality service

Making the pledge to a new Norwich Bus Charter, Norfolk County Council travel and transport staff an

Making the pledge to a new Norwich Bus Charter, Norfolk County Council travel and transport staff and representatives of major bus companies joining together outside The Forum at the start of Catch the Bus Week. Picture: Steve Adams

A special double-decker bus parked outside The Forum yesterday to mark the first day of national Catch the Bus Week.

It was on scene to help launch a new Norwich Bus Charter, to encourage more people to use public transport.

The bus was staffed by travel and transport workers from the county council and representatives of major bus companies who explained the charter to the public.

The charter draws together twelve pledges to passengers by bus operators.

These cover: reliability and punctuality, including a fare refund if the bus is more than 15 minutes late; cleanliness and safety of vehicles, shelters and interchanges; accessibility for wheelchair users; quality of information on services and consultation on major changes; notification of any fare changes, and discounted fares for regular travellers.

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Those already signed up include First, Konectbus, Anglianbus, Norfolk Green, Norse and Sanders Coaches.

Steve Wickers, commercial director for Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk for FirstGroup, and Julian Patterson, managing director of Konectbus/Anglianbus, attended the launch, along with representatives of Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council.

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The pledges in the Norwich Bus Charter were agreed by bus operators as part of a voluntary partnership aiming to give a quality service.

A wide range of measures have been developed by a partnership of Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council, bus operators and users, largely funded by a Department for Transport Better Bus Area grant.

Bosses hope improvements will ensure that bus services provide an attractive, high-quality and reliable alternative to the private car.

It is hoped that this in turn would help to cut congestion, improve air quality, and help Norwich retain its place as one of the country's top shopping destinations and an attractive destination for visitors.

The area covered by the charter and the Voluntary Quality Partnership (VQP) is Norwich and its surrounding built-up areas.

More detail will be available on Norfolk County Council's website as the VQP is finalised.

The bus will be touring the county for the rest of the week, providing people with an opportunity to find out more about bus travel.

The itinerary can be found at: www.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC146801

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