February 16, 2018
A community transport service in West Norfolk could expand to fill the void left by a potential closure of a large bus company’s King’s Lynn depot. Stagecoach, one of the areas largest bus services, has said that it’s reviewing its operations throughout Norfolk. The review will take in to account the 50 vehicles the company runs and the 120 employees.
The bus service claims that a combination of pressure on public sector budgets and rising operating costs are cause for the review and potential closure of the depot. West Norfolk Community Transport (WNCT) said it’s “looking very seriously at the effects” of the announcement, adding: “We’re considering the role we can play going forward.”
“We believe it may open up opportunities for us, as a charity, to become more self-sufficient.”
Essential Community Transport
The community bus service has been a staple in the Norfolk area, offering door-to-door services for those unable to access public transport due to their location for upwards of 25 years. In addition to this service, WNCT provides numerous public buses on routes throughout the county. Minibuses are provided by the company under their “Go To Town” scheme, which feature the number 10 Swaffham town service and the number 47 from Downham Market to King’s Lynn.
Stagecoach have stated it’s currently looking at purchasing options for new, larger vehicles and that it would recruit drivers, engineering staff and cleaners for any routes which they may become the operator of.
WNCT released a statement recently saying: “We believe it may open up opportunities for us, as a charity, to become more self-sufficient and allow every bus passenger we carry to give something back to the community, simply by using our services. We’re in the lucky position that we are currently planning a move to a new site for our offices and workshops.
“This will enable us to expand into new work. We’ll be able to make arrangements for larger, vehicles. Our offices are being built with a future proof concept which allows for expansion. Whilst there are hurdles still to overcome, we believe that WNCT and local operators, with the support of Norfolk County Council, will be able to provide West Norfolk with the services which are expected.”
Stagecoach claimed that it’s met with union representatives over the closure of its Lynn depot. It was believed that this meeting was to minimise the impact of staff.