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Concern sparked by Great Yarmouth seafront bus cuts

PUBLISHED: 10:06 04 June 2011

First bus in Norwich.; Photo: Bill Smith

First bus in Norwich.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

THE transport access to Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile has been labelled “ridiculous” after it emerged a long-running bus service covering its length has been cut short.

A change in First Bus’ timetable has led to an altering of the No 3 bus route, which runs from Hemsby, though Scratby and Caister and into Yarmouth over the summer, and covered the full stretch of the seafront but now terminates at Market Gates.

But, only weeks after the service was curtailed, First is looking into the decision following an inquiry from MP Brandon Lewis.

Passengers learned of the move after timetables for the service, which takes in holidaymakers from a number of en-route holiday camps, were changed late last month.

The move has caused concern that the seafront has been left with little full public transport access from the town centre.

Steve Hewitt of the Norfolk Transport Users Association pointed out that during peak season the town attracts a lot of elderly visitors and a large number of disabled groups towards the end of the summer.

He said: “It will be detrimental to them as well, and to have no service at all is crazy. I can’t believe that in a premier holiday resort you have so few links from the town centre or the surrounding resorts to the seafront.”

The move means bus passengers hoping to access the full extent of the seafront from the town centre will either have to get the No 2 bus, which makes its way from the James Paget Hospital into Yarmouth, on to the Barrack Estate and terminates near the Pleasure Beach. There is also the option of taking the road train or ride on an open-top tourist bus.

One former user, who did not want to be named, works along the seafront and said: “I can’t understand Yarmouth not having a seafront service like this, and I would like to know who they consulted with.”

Last year, the bus ran from May 30 to September 24. It made hourly stops until July, at which point it turned into a half-hourly service.

Among those worried is Peter Williamson, who runs the Merrivale Model Village who described any loss of public transport as “a blow for the resort”.

But a spokesman for First Bus pointed to a lack of users for the full route. She said: “Passenger figures have been particularly low in previous years in this area; the majority of passengers coming in from the Caister area also found it quicker to get to the seafront by getting off at Market Gates and walking down Regent Road.”

The statement prompted Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis to contact to First Bus about looking into altering the route rather than cutting it short.

Mr Lewis pointed to the loss of Pontins in Hemsby as one of the possible factors, and said although he understood the company had to respond to the number of users “it doesn’t make a lot of sense because it should be a popular route.”

However, Great Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet member for tourism Charles Reynolds disagreed with the claims of lack of provision, pointing to the land train, and coach and horses services, as well as the bus service from Seashore Holiday Park.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you think Yarmouth should have a regular dedicated bus service from June to October from Market Gates, travelling the length of the Golden Mile? Write to Letters at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk


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