Panel looks at rural transport

A raft of proposals to improve public transport and reduce isolation in rural areas have been put forward by a pair of Norfolk councils.

The ideas include providing greater advice and financial support for community transport organisations, more regular and later running services and better information about timetables.

The joint North Norfolk and Broadland district council time and task limited panel also proposed advising public transport providers about the need for their drivers to be courteous, helpful and welcoming.

North Norfolk councillor Tom FitzPatrick, who represents North Walsham ward and is also a panel member, said: 'In some areas there is relatively good public transport with access to trains, buses and community transport but there are also places where the provision is patchy and there is a real feeling of isolation. That is what we have been looking at.'

Other recommendations include considering ring-fencing funding to support community transport schemes and relaxing the criteria to achieve funding, encouraging community transport providers to reach out to young people who need a bus service in the evenings and encouraging bus operators to take buses through villages instead of stopping on busy bypass roads.

The panel's recommendations have already been endorsed by Broadland District Council's overview and scrutiny committee and will go before North Norfolk on Tuesday.