Sprowston

Growing concern as vital Sprowston bus service is cancelled

Just Regional
Sep 21, 2015 4 mins read

Residents have been left concerned following the cancellation of a section of the First Bus 11A route from September 21.

Those living on Cozens Hardy Road and Church Lane will now have to make a 10-minute walk to catch a First Bus, which is particularly difficult for the large proportion of elderly residents, who use the service to get to the doctors’ surgery and Tesco on Blue Boar Lane as well as to go into the city.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has been contacted by a number of constituents, and together with district councillor for Sprowston East ward Judy Leggett, arranged a meeting with First Buses to discuss the cancellation.

“The meeting went as expected, with First resisting any changes to their plan,” said Chloe. “They have to make commercial decisions and the route isn’t being used enough to sustain it.
“But this masks a more important social impact, especially for elderly people who rely on it and we remain concerned.

“Myself and local councillors will be working on any options for an alternative and will be speaking to the Sprowston Centre Surgery, in Aslake Close, and the Blue Boar Tesco.”
During the meeting with First, Chloe also raised the issue of the new housing developments in Sprowston and the need to look at routes across the whole area of Sprowston and Old Catton, to which First agreed.

Judy Leggett added: “I appreciate that residents have come to rely on the 11A service through Cozens Hardy Road and are concerned that the service has been cancelled. From the meeting I attended with Chloe Smith and First Bus, I understand that passenger numbers have been low, but First Bus would like to hear residents’ ideas for increasing numbers.

“As some residents in the area previously served by this bus route cannot easily reach bus stops in North Walsham Road or Wroxham Road, we must ensure that details of the Sanders 32 service through Cozens Hardy Road and Church Lane, together with alternative forms of transport such as Norwich Door to Door or community transport schemes are well publicised.”

Mollie Goodyear, 86, lives on the corner of Surrey Close, directly opposite one of the affected bus stops on Church Lane. She uses the bus once a week to do her shopping at Tesco on Blue Boar Lane and was one of the residents who wrote to Chloe with concerns.

“I don’t think First have made people aware about it enough,” she said. “I found out about it through a friend I met on the bus who told me that it wasn’t going to stop on Church Lane anymore.

“I can’t walk all that well and it’s a good 10-minute walk to the next stop.

“It’s not just me, a lot of older people I know who use the bus are concerned and I can’t really understand it because I live opposite the bus stop and I see people getting on and off all the time, including people in wheelchairs.”

A spokesperson from First Bus said: “After monitoring the route for some time, observations have shown a low number of people using the service, resulting in it not being commercially viable to continue.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this decision to the people that are using the service, but following discussion with Norfolk County Council, we have been informed that other operators have made changes to their services to provide full or partial replacements in the area from September 20.”

The 11A service saw three buses running per hour throughout the main day, and Sanders Coaches has made changes to its services to offer a partial alternative through its 32 service see the panel for service details.

Sanders Coaches service 32 details:
Monday to Friday – pick up 9.57am and 10.57am on Cozens Hardy Road, and at 9.59am and 10.59am on Church Lane, 12.40pm.
Saturdays – pick up 8.57am Cozens Hardy Road and 8.59am Church Lane, with a return journey from Norwich Bus Station Bay L at 11.45am and 1.15pm.
For more information call Sanders on 01263 712800 or visit the website at
www.sanderscoaches.com.

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