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Better bus route - after tight squeeze!

PUBLISHED: 10:08 29 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 July 2010

It was an unforgettable way to launch increased bus services from Norwich to Yarmouth and Gorleston.

Yesterday, First Eastern Counties marked the occasion with the difficult task of trying to manoeuvre a bus through a narrow archway at Norwich Cathedral ready for a photo call.

It was an unforgettable way to launch increased bus services from Norwich to Yarmouth and Gorleston.

Yesterday, First Eastern Counties marked the occasion with the difficult task of trying to manoeuvre a bus through a narrow archway at Norwich Cathedral ready for a photo call. The driver spent about 15 minutes - the frequency of the new increased service - trying to get the bus through the ancient arch.

And after several attempts to enter the cathedral grounds frontwards, the driver finally reversed through the arch, ready for pictures of the bus to be taken in front of the city's historic landmark.

Taking the problem in good humour, Gussy Alamein, marketing and communications manager for First Eastern Counties, said: “Manoeuvring a bus through such a tight space is a difficult process. However, we succeeded and this highlights the great skills and ability of our driver, Lee Howes.”

The incident happened during the launch of the improved service for the Norwich to Yarmouth to Gorleston section of the Excel X1 route.

Previously a half-hour service, the section from Norwich to Yarmouth and Gorleston now runs every 15 minutes both ways on Mondays to Saturdays. The rest of the Excel X1 service, which links Peterborough, King's Lynn, Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft, remains unchanged.

Peter Iddon, managing director of First Eastern Counties, said the service had been increased because of customer demand.

The 53-seater buses used on the route will be replaced by 72-seater double deckers by the end of the year.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is great to see increased investment in public transport, in particular linking Yarmouth and Norwich, both areas growing in importance to the Norfolk economy.”

Michael Nutt, managing director of Visit Norwich, said: “It is fantastic to have four buses an hour between what are the major tourist destinations in the county. It is going to make it so much easier to move between Norwich and the coast.”

Ian Hydes, who is on the passenger transport group at the county council, hoped the improved service would encourage more people to use buses and that it would work well with council-subsidised bus services that link with the Excel X1 route.

For more information about the service visit www.firstgroup.com or call 08456 020121.

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