Petition to open full-time bus lane to commuters

Gary Blundell has launched a petition to open the bus lane on Dereham Road in Norwich to traffic out

Costessey Town Council member Gary Blundell has launched an online petition to partially open the 24/7 bus lane on Dereham Road in Costessey. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Ruth Lawes

Hundreds of people have signed an online petition to allow commuters onto a 24/7 bus lane on a main route into Norwich. 

The petition to partially open up the Dereham Road bus lane in Costessey was started by town councillor Gary Blundell, who said changes were needed to prevent queues of traffic. 

It will only be discussed by Norfolk County Council if 2,500 people sign the petition and 1,000 have signed it so far. 

Mr Blundell is urging the council to consider if cars could use the lane outside of 7am to 8.30am.

But Paul Martin, First Eastern Counties commercial manager, said: “Reducing the operational hours of this bus lane could affect our ability to keep our Red Line services running punctually, and would be a backward step in trying to encourage more people onto the bus network.  

“Pre-pandemic, there were eight buses per hour along this route and with Dereham Road being identified as a location to introduce more bus lanes as part of the Transforming Cities programme, the facility is likely to increase. 

“Bus lanes are vital in helping us to provide punctual and reliable services.” 

Mr Blundell said: “There is no point in the county council wanting people to reduce their carbon emissions but having static traffic sitting there. Most people I speak to think altering the bus lane is a good idea that will allow traffic to move more freely.” 

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He added the nearby 20mph roads were not suitable for large amounts of traffic from people avoiding the main road, which added to problems from NDR rat runners. 

Chairman of the Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill.

Chairman of the Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Dan Burrill, Costessey Town Council chairman, said allowing other motorists on the bus lane might help the problem of queues but it was not the main solution because of the “sheer volume of traffic”. 

A county council spokesperson said: "The Dereham Road is an important public transport corridor into Norwich, carrying up to 125,000 passengers per month. Dereham Road junctions are operating at full capacity and the traffic signals are optimised to minimise queue lengths.

“If restrictions were to change, the benefits that bus lanes bring would be substantially reduced or removed and latest guidance from central government stipulates 24 hour operation on all key routes."