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Bus passengers say cuts to services would be a ‘disaster’ in rural areas

PUBLISHED: 10:48 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 05 December 2017

Slvia Carey. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes.

Slvia Carey. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes.

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Bus users say it would be a “disaster” if vital services which take them to education and to socialise were to be lost.

Judy and John Leary. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes. Judy and John Leary. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes.

A number of services which run in and out of Dereham are among those which are currently subsidised - so could be at risk if Norfolk County Council goes ahead with slashing its subsidy spend.

And passengers say they rely on those services.

Dafydd Thomas, 16, from Watton, is a student at Dereham Sixth Form College and takes the Konect number 11 bus to college.

He said he would not be able to get there without it.

Aiesha Pitcher. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes. Aiesha Pitcher. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes.

He said: “My dad goes to work at 6.30am and my mum takes the car at 8am. There’s no sixth form college in Watton.”

Judy, 73, and John Leary, 81, a retired couple from Swanton Morley, get the Konect number 4 bus into Dereham at least three times a week.

Mrs Leary said: “It would be a disaster if the service was stopped, as I don’t drive. It’s a nuisance on Sundays as it is, as we don’t have any way of getting out of Swanton Morley.

“We are an aging population and people won’t be driving as they get older. But it’s still important to them to get to church in Dereham.”

Dafydd Thomas. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes. Dafydd Thomas. Pic: Jessica Frank-Keyes.

Sylvia Carey, 82, from Dereham, is retired. She uses the Konect number 8 bus and the First X1 service to get into Norwich to meet friends, where she is a member of several societies.

She said: “I don’t drive into Norwich because you can never find a parking space. I do like going into Norwich, and its nice to know it’s waiting there for me, especially when the weather’s not nice. It would be difficult if the bus didn’t run.”

Aiesha Pitcher, 16, is from Watton, and studying business, geography and photography at Dereham Sixth Form College.

She takes the Konect number 11 bus to college and back and said: “I wouldn’t be able to drive in as I’m not old enough yet, or be able to get a lift. All the buses I use are Konect, so I do rely on them quite a bit.”

Retired Ann Brownlow, 62, takes the Konect 4 bus from Swanton Morley to Dereham at least once a week. She also uses the service to attend hospital appointments at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

She said: “The service would be really missed. If they stopped running it people would be isolated.”

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