New ‘lifeline’ bus service launched after community campaign
PUBLISHED: 08:27 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 07 September 2020
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015
A ‘lifeline’ new bus service has launched following a successful community campaign to replace one which had been dropped over the coronavirus lockdown.
More than 670 people in Sprowston signed a petition demanding the ‘Linacre Loop’ bus service return, following fears passengers would be cut off.
Natasha Harpley, Broadland district councillor for Sprowston, led the campaign which has led to Konectbus launching an 11B service running through Linacre Avenue, Monday to Friday.
Concerns were raised after three stops on Linacre Avenue was dropped by First Eastern Counties during lockdown.
Councillor Harpley said: “It is bungalow central there. People are often elderly or have reduced mobility. They rely on that service, to walk to the shop for milk and bread they have to walk to Tescos, it’s just to far.
“I really hope it’s going to be well used. It is definitely the case of use it or lose it. They will give it a trial over a few months to see if it is successful.
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“I rely on buses, I know what it is like to have it taken away or to be unreliable. It is a lifeline.”
More: New ‘lifeline’ bus route announced following residents campaign
She also praised the work of Carol Jacobs and Lynn Warren, who were among many residents carrying out their own “grass root campaign” to rally support.
Carol Jacobs said: “I shall be standing there and waving and cheering them [passengers] all on. I think there will be a lot of people there.”
She added her hope in future the service could be expanded to several hours on a Saturday.
Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Konectbus, said; “This route will provide a lifeline for many of the local residents, whether it be to visit the local supermarkets for their daily shopping needs or access into the city centre.
“It is wonderful to see that buses continue to receive local political support and we encourage as many people as possible to use route 11B to ensure it remains a viable service for us to run.”
More: Hundreds sign petition to reinstate section of bus route
The new service has also been praised by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and county councillor John Ward.
Mrs Smith added, “I’m pleased that Konect has responded to elderly residents’ needs and will run the service from today. We met with Konectbus and local residents last month to discuss their views on changes to the local bus service and I’m pleased that this service will be the right bus route for Sprowston residents.”
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