Bus faces axe
Stanhoe is set to lose its last regular public transport service when the weekly shopping bus to Fakenham is axed on 9 April.
Bus company Norfolk Green will no longer run the number 31 service, which every Thursday links Heacham, Hunstanton, Ringstead, Sedgeford, Docking and Stanhoe with Fakenham. Norfolk Green blames reduced funding from central government and local authorities, although Norfolk County Council says that Norfolk Green did not bid for the route this time.
photo: Charles Butcher
The Dial-a-Bus services operated by West Norfolk Community Transport Project will go some way to replacing the lost number 31 service. According to several Stanhoe residents, however, the lack of fixed timetables, limited space on the bus and the need to pre-book all make the Dial-a-Bus inconvenient.
Why does this matter?
It’s true that few people in Stanhoe use the existing weekly bus service, but its loss will be a real blow to the independence of those who do. Stanhoe has an ageing population, and none of us know when we may need to use a bus service, even if it is just once a week.
This problem is not unique to our area, as BBC One’s Countryfile programme highlighted on Sunday 13 March. Many rural areas have lost and will continue to lose vital bus links. Whilst we all know that cuts in budgets will inevitably lead to cuts in services, does this have to mean that some communities are left without any public transport?
Other countries like Denmark manage to operate bus services in remote areas by using the buses to pick up mail. Although this may not be an option for rural bus services in the UK, surely it’s worth exploring other ways to halt the erosion of rural bus services so that villages like Stanhoe aren’t left high and dry.
If you want to protest, you can write to:
Henry Bellingham, MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Hamlin Way, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE30 4NG
Norfolk County Council
County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 2DH