Lynn bus station: Paul Tibbs

Bus operators have stepped in to save threatened West Norfolk routes, including the Coasthopper service.

A rescue package has been put together to save a large number of routes following an announcement last month by operator Stagecoach. The company said it could close its King’s Lynn depot with a potential loss of 120 jobs.

At the time, other West Norfolk providers pledged to look into trying to cover some of the routes after Stagecoach said it was reviewing its operation due to the “challenging economic environment”.

Saddlebow-based Lynx and Lynn-based charity West Norfolk Community Transport (WNCT) both said they could potentially create some jobs if they were to expand and take on routes.

More than 10,000 passengers signed an online petition to save the Coasthopper service and on Wednesday, Norfolk County Council confirmed it was one of the routes set to continue after Lynx, Norwich-based Sanders Coaches and WNCT stepped in.

Stagecoach will cease to operate most of its services from April 28 but plans to continue some, including Lynn to Walpole St Peter and the Lynn to Spalding 505 service through the villages.

The new package has to be ratified by the bus regulatory body but is expected to see WNCT take over routes serving Lynn, North Lynn, the Woottons, Gaywood, Upwell and Three Holes.

Lynx is looking to take over part of the Coasthopper route along with Sanders Coaches.

Lynx will also run some of the services to Fakenham, Hunstanton, Fairstead and St Germans.

Providers for some of the Lincolnshire and Fenland services operated by Stagecoach have still to be confirmed.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the county council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “It’s very welcome news that the future of services on the Coasthopper route looks to be secure.

“Our transport team and local operators have been working hard to make sure that as far as possible the former Stagecoach services continue to run.

“Some services and timetables may differ from now. We’re expecting to have much greater detail on routes and timings over the coming days.

“As details emerge and services switch over to new providers we’ll continue to work with operators to review services by looking at passenger numbers and listening to customer feedback.”

The council has said there might be some reduction in services but has pledged these would continue to be reviewed and developed.

Officers and operators will also look at ticketing and connection services.

Letters are due to go out within the next three weeks to college and school students with a county bus pass to confirm any new travel arrangements.

Passengers have been asked to check www.norfolk.gov.uk/stagecoach for new timetables, set to be published in the next two weeks.

LEAVE A REPLY