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The Panel received an update from Niki Parks from Norfolk County Council as follows; 


The Bus Service Improvement Plan had been awarded £49.5 Million  for improvements to the service which included bus priority scheme, junction improvement, traffic flow improvement, improving waiting facilities at stops, maintenance of King’s Lynn Bus Station, additional bus routes and links to medical services.

The Panel received updates from the representatives from WNCT and Lynx buses as follows;


·         As part of Bus Service Improvement Plan, both Lynx and Go to Town buses were offering £1.50 cap on fares for a Single Journey in King’s Lynn and 25% off weekly, monthly and group tickets. Service being provided as part of Improvement Plan would be commercially sustainable.


The Chair invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below;


Councillor Colwell asked if there are plans for a bus to go through Gaywood and then onto St James’ Medical Centre, and if there were plans for buses to start earlier and finish later for residents to commute to work.


Vanessa Reeve from West Norfolk Community Transport for referred to Reffley and Wootton Services were running.


Monday to Friday buses starting at 7.07 am for commute to work, and 7.30 pm last bus although numbers for buses in evenings were low so there were unlikely to be later ones as the service not sustainable. He confirmed there was a bus to Marsh Lane for the St James’ Medical Centre requiring a short walk to it.


Councillor Colwell asked consideration a bus to directly outside the St James’ Medical Centre to be considered.


Councillor Sandell asked if bus routes from rural areas could be considered to tie in with rail service time.


Julian Patterson from Lynx Buses explained that the that bus timetable had been revised in 2018 however train times were then changed.


The Chair asked that bus timetable boards and bus stops be in the same place at the bus stop. She also asked the procedure for enforcement when cars parked in bus stops and suggested that more buses be put on during Festival Too.


Niki Parks undertook to investigate if a Traffic Regulation Order was in place for the stop, if not to address what needed to be done to resolve the issue.  She also confirmed that Timetables would be part of the Improvement Plan.


Julian Patterson advised free buses were put on in 2015 for Festival Too however issues with antisocial behaviour and driver’s work schedules not permitting work next day.


Councillor Lintern asked if there were any plans for the south of King’s Lynn.


Niki Parks answered that gold bus stops would be fitted with QR codes across all of the county which included Downham Market and there would be an accessibility upgrade for rural bus stops. Bus stops upgraded in rural areas have to be moved depending on risk assessments and available land.


Niki Parks encouraged parishes to work with NCC to look at existing and new bus stops if needed in response to Councillor Bearshaw comment on work the parish council was doing.


Councillor Rust queried the cost of maintaining gold bus stops if they were re-chargeable.


Niki Parks advised that Bus Shelters were not put in unless agreement had been reached on maintenance.


Councillor Moriarty thanked the invitees for the time taken for providing update to the panel and asked what the plans were for refurbishment at King’s Lynn Bus station. He referred to sustainability of development and the need to have bus services in operation to encourage their use as properties were built.


Niki Parks advised NCC would be maintaining the area, clean up, fixed screens and more cycle stands for it to become a travel hub. She offered to provide the plans. She also reminded members that the NCC could encourage use and provide service could not force their use.


Vanessa Reeve advised that WNCT were working closely with St James Health Service to understand times and needs. They currently offered dial a bus to link villages to King’s Lynn.  She informed members that further information was to be released on Friday.


Councillor De Whalley asked what could be done to improve diesel buses and to encourage the use of electric buses.


Julian Patterson answered in three years spent £3 million on euro 6 diesel buses to improve emissions.  He reminded members that when traffic flowed it improved emissions. There were no plans for alternative fuel buses at the moment due to the cost and limitations on mileage.


Councillor Beales commented that it was good to see active maintenance of the Bus Station..


The Vice Chair asked about variation of prices and lack of direct route buses in rural areas such as Swaffham and Marham to Downham Market.  She also asked what percentage of the budget had been used on King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and whether green rooves been considered for bus shelters.


Niki Parks stated the price of the fare depended on the company and their cost of running the service.  She explained that and the funding was not for the longer term so the pricing may change again after the funding ceased. It was noted that Lynx Buses had reduced their fares and offered discounts. £13 Million had been used and green roofs can be considered but maintenance down to parish.


Councillor Bubb referred to an issue with a bus shelter in Dersingham and asked how much of the budget was spent on Norwich.


Niki Parks responded that if Councillor Bubb provides specific details on the bus stop to her she would investigate further. She also confirmed that Norfolk County Council did not put any budget towards electric buses and was funded by the Government.


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