Buses between Norwich city centre and UEA to be axed

Commuters, residents and students will lose a regular bus service from Norwich city centre to the university next month.

Operator First has contacted the University of East Anglia (UEA) to confirm it is reducing the number 21/22 route from Monday, January 16.

Passengers fear this could make it harder to travel into the city and catch connecting services to the university.

Concerns have also been raised about the replacement number 40 UEA Circular route to serve the university.

An internal message to UEA staff revealed the new service will run in term time only, leaving people without buses at Christmas, Easter and during the summer.

The 21/22 currently runs throughout the year between the city centre and the UEA, via the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, from 5.52am and midnight.

But First says the 21/22 will now only make stops between the city centre and the hospital.

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The number 40 circular route will operate from 7.26am until 10.15am and 3.15pm to 6.50pm.

It will depart the university and stop at Dodderman Way, Harpsfield, Dereham Road and Jamieson Place before returning to the UEA.

One passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, said the lack of buses outside of term time will cause difficulties for staff and post-graduate students. They added students visiting the campus for one seminar could also be left stranded on campus for hours waiting for a bus to get home. They said: 'The university has announced the news to staff and that's the only way I've heard about it. I am not happy. It will affect so many people in the area.'

First spokesman Chris Nice said information about passengers' travel patterns was gathered before the decision was taken, including talking to people.

He said: 'Our analysis showed us that the majority of passengers were travelling to and from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and passengers travelling to the university found the service less attractive, often choosing to alight early rather than face the loop through the hospital.

'Following this analysis we made the decision to make some alterations and provide a more tailored service for passengers travelling to the university.'

Norfolk County Council says the number 21/22 is a fully commercial service and receives no cash subsidy from the authority.

Councillor Bert Bremner, University ward member and Norwich City Council cabinet member for planning and transport, said: 'This change may work for First but I am certain people who rely on the 21/22 to get to and from the university will be disadvantaged.'