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Norwich MP adds voice to calls for First buses route rethink in north city

PUBLISHED: 06:31 17 October 2012 | UPDATED: 08:08 17 October 2012

Chloe Smith MP is calling for First buses to rethink route changes. Photo: Bill Smith

Chloe Smith MP is calling for First buses to rethink route changes. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

An MP has joined calls for First buses to rethink route changes to the north of the city, following concerns raised by passengers.

First introduced wide-ranging changes to its bus service last month and the bus company has agreed to meet angry residents at a meeting organised by Old Catton Parish Council on November 1.

The parish council plans to petition the bus company at the meeting to restore the Spixworth Road service in Old Catton, which was discontinued last month.

Residents claim the changes have left elderly people and those with mobility issues unable to pick up their pension, get to the shops or attend doctors’ appointments.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said passengers had raised concerns to her about the Spixworth Road service and also about the lack of a route in St William’s Way, Thorpe St Andrew, and the change of destination of the Thorpe St Andrew buses to Costessey rather than the hospital.

She added: “In Old Catton and Thorpe St Andrew, many elderly residents are dependent on the bus service and I call on First buses to reconsider its recent decisions for the good of the community.

“Numerous constituents have got in touch to explain how the changes have left them essentially housebound.

“In particular, a 91-year-old resident, who is unable to walk up the hill to where the bus now stops, can no longer make trips out.

“Another elderly constituent, who relied on the service to travel to regular hospital appointments, told me how much more difficult and tiring it now was to attend appointments.”

The MP is working with Old Catton county and parish councillors to challenge the change of route, and with another county councillor, Nigel Shaw to help residents voice their concerns about a lack of service in St William’s Way.

First could not be reached for comment.

The meeting will be held at Old Catton Village Hall at 7.30pm on November 1.

Have you got an issue with bus routes in Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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