December 13 2013 Latest news:
By DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP, Reporter
Saturday, September 8, 2012
A group of residents from north Norfolk have spoken of their disappointment after a London commuter route was cut by the National Express earlier this year.
Collection points at Holt, Fakenham, Sheringham and Cromer were scrapped from the 496 Victoria Street to Norfolk service in July.
A spokesperson for National Express said the route was changed to “reflect long term decline in passenger numbers” especially in Cromer where they say fewer than two people per day boarded the service.
She added: “The majority of the route was incorporated into other services and we have worked hard to inform customers and the council of the changes. As with any service change we will keep the matter under review although no immediate changes are planned.”
But residents in north Norfolk believe the changes have had a negative impact on the area and have increased isolation.
Susan Balding, from the Fakenham area, used to be a frequent user of the service when she worked as a practice nurse in London. She estimated that she had used the service a minimum of 200 times.
“I think it’s inertia why people get so frustrated by transport service in this area, so they think there is no point challenging the changes,” she said.
“I feel we shouldn’t let it go without a fight and I don’t think National Express’s argument to cut the service stands up - they have dug their heels in and won’t budge.
“I just feel someone, some where, should be able to do something.”
Other residents in north Norfolk have suggested that the service should be reinstated as a limited service, even if it was run as a trial.
But National Express say they have received only around five letters asking for the route to be changed since it was cut in July.
The company also reported that since the removal of the Government grant for half price coach fares, they had seen a drop in concessionary passenger numbers on this service by half.
Services are still being run via Kings Lynn, Dereham, Swaffham and Norwich. The locations incorporated to the new timetable were Dereham, Swaffham, Mundford and Brandon - all of which have a day return option to London or Cambridge.
National Express say there are no current plans to change the service at present.