Take a look inside Great Yarmouth bus depot

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Great Yarmouth buses receive a safety check the equivalent of an MOT every 28 days to ensure they are roadworthy. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

It is a building that is vital for Great Yarmouth's transport service but many people have no idea what goes on behind the scenes there.

First Eastern Counties depot on Caister Road has been been a hive of activity since 1903 and has a fleet of 48 buses serving the borough and wider area.

Originally built for the housing of the town's former trams, buses have been at the site since 1921.

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3 X LONDON TRANSPORT MOTOR COACHES PARKED OUTSIDE THE BLUE BUS DEPOT , CAISTER ROAD ( O

FLASHBACK: London Transport buses, which were on loan, outside the Great Yarmouth depot in 1958. - Credit: Archant Archives

First Eastern Counties has operated out of the depot since 1996 and it has around 100 drivers, 10 administrators and 30 engineering and cleaning staff on its payroll at the site.

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Chris Speed, Head of operations. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Chris Speed, head of operations for First Norfolk and Suffolk, has been with the company for 23 years. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Gorleston's Chris Speed, who is head of operations at First Norfolk and Suffolk, started on the buses 23 years ago.

Mr Speed said: "Great Yarmouth buses is a passion. Many of our employees are from the town and we even have whole families here."

Mr Speed has been in management with First for the past 17 years, but still gets behind the wheel from time to time.

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"To be a manager here, you really need to have driven a bus," he said. "That way, you can be more aware of the issues drivers and passengers face on a daily basis."

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Two Coastal Reds parked up and ready for use. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Currently, the depot has 48 active buses serving routes across the borough and the rest of the county.

Each bus receives an onsite safety check - which is the equivalent of an MOT test - once a month as well as yearly tests to ensure the vehicles are roadworthy.

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Great Yarmouth's bus depot has pits for engineers servicing the vehicles. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The average lifespan of a bus in Great Yarmouth is 25 years. In that time, a bus will will drive over 1.5m kilometres - or the equivalent of driving to the moon and back twice.

Some people have criticised the age of the buses in the borough, but Mr Speed said the company is dedicated to making the existing vehicles as comfortable as new ones which cost in the region of £320,000.

Over its time on the road, a Yarmouth bus will have its floors and seating refurbished every six years or so, as well as a new gearbox and engine. By the end of a bus' life, usually only the original chassis remains unchanged.

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

A wheel being taken for a clean before having new tyres fitted. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

What is First doing to encourage more people to ride?

Currently, the amount of customers riding buses in the borough is at 71pc of pre-Covid levels.

Mr Speed regularly tries to think of new ideas on how to encourage more people to use the bus to cut down on parking hassles and carbon emissions.

Last year, First introduced the open top-deck Clipper service along the seafront which proved highly popular.

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Engineers servicing a Coastal Reds double-decker. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mr Speed said: "At busier times, we had about 70 people on board - which meant around 35 less cars were on the roads."

The Clipper service will return with a larger fleet this summer.

Mr Speed added: "We're trying to be as attractive as possible to encourage less people to drive to Norwich and take the bus instead.

Blue Business Depot In Great Yarmouth. Chris Speed, Head of operations. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Chris Speed, head of operations for First Norfolk and Suffolk, says he has a passion for Yarmouth buses. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"When I first started, there was a bus to Norwich once every two hours - now due to demand, there's one up to every 15 minutes."

It was recently revealed additional funding had been given to assist bus operators across the country. However, further details have yet to be given.