Town is ‘cut off’ after bus move

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THETFORD has been cut off from its county city after a decision to slash travel funding, according to councillors.

Concessionary bus users who want to travel to Norwich will no longer be able to do so for free after Norfolk County Council cut its subsidy for National Express services.

The decision makes Thetford one of only three towns in the county not to have a subsidised service running to Norwich.

The news was met with an angry response at a meeting of Thetford Town Council on Tuesday night. Cllr John Harding said the move was ‘absolutely disgusting’.

“Norwich is our county city and the people who use bus passes are at a time in life where they need that service.

“We are a part of Norfolk and they should start paying for bus services for those people,” he said.

Mike Brindle, Norfolk county councillor for Thetford, said the county council felt it had to prioritise which services it funded.

He said county council transport officers had told him subsidies for services to Bury St Edmunds and King’s Lynn, and Thetford’s rail links to Norwich, led to the decision being made.

The county council also claim there is a very small demand for the Thetford to Norwich service.

But Cllr Corinne Fulford questioned its findings.

“How are they working out how many people are using a service that doesn’t exist?

“It’s completely dependent on the driver as to whether or not card holders get let on to the bus,” she said.

Cllr Stuart Wright said: “If so few people are using the service, then surely it wouldn’t cost much to subsidise?”

A letter from Norfolk county councillor Marion Chapman-Allen was also read at the meeting.

She defended the decision, saying that £200,000 would still be spent on bus services in and around Thetford.

She said: “Given these times of cuts and savings, it’s very good news that the county council saw the importance of continuing to subsidise the bus services for Thetford in spite of having to find £500,000 of savings on local bus services elsewhere in Norfolk.”