Plans to cut free bus travel in Norfolk edge closer

Plans to cut the times when pensioners can use their bus passes to get free travel around Norfolk edged a step nearer at a council meeting today.

Bosses at Norfolk County Council are considering scrapping an extra hour in the morning when the concessionary passes can currently be used.

The authority takes over responsibility for administering the free travel scheme for people eligible for bus passes next year, but at a meeting of the county council's cabinet today officers made clear the county council cannot afford to offer free travel between 8.30am and 9.30am – which is above and beyond the statutory minimum.

In a report which came before the councillors, officers warned it was 'likely that the council will not be able to continue to provide the scheme in its current form and will only be able to offer the statutory minimum.'

In 2008/9 the county's seven district councils paid back almost �10m to bus operators to make up the money the companies missed out on because people took advantage of free bus travel.

And the county council said there is 'a significant risk' that government funding will not cover the cost of that pay-out next year.

At today's meeting it was also agreed to push ahead with plans to create a new primary school in Lingwood.

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The proposal is to create a 210-pupil school for five to 11-year-olds on the current site of Lingwood First and Nursery School. See tomorrow's Evening News for the full stories.