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Reader Letter: Norfolk County Councillor on the Coast Hopper controversy

PUBLISHED: 13:34 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:34 27 February 2018

Marie Strong, Liberal Democrat candidate for Wells. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Marie Strong, Liberal Democrat candidate for Wells. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats

Previous concern as to the future of the Coast Hopper arose because of change of operator; that it was the most heavily subsidised route in the county; was used primarily by holiday makers.

The Coasthopper will be run by Sanders Coaches and Lynx. Picture: Ian Burt The Coasthopper will be run by Sanders Coaches and Lynx. Picture: Ian Burt

Knowing the latter was untrue I sought evidence that the Coast Hopper was, as all our rural transport, very important for residents.

Examples given to me included getting to hospital, surgeries, work, college and school, shopping, carrying out voluntary work, caring for family members.

The evidence proved useful to the debate about subsidy and in the meantime another operator took on the route. Keeping the Coast Hopper going allowed time for the route to grow in popularity so that by September 2015 what had been the most heavily subsidised bus route in the county no longer required subsidy.

The Coast Hopper continues to provide an essential link for rural communities, including for those who access it from inland parishes; it has become more valuable than ever to the tourist trade; it remains sufficiently successful not to require county subsidy.

Bus Operators all know how successful the Coast Hopper route has proven to be; it knows of the enthusiasm of local people and visitors.

Norfolk County Council has offered reassurance that the Coast Hopper route will be covered and is actively engaged in discussion with the bus operators.

Throughout all the Coast Hopper sagas Tracy Jessop, assistant director of planning and economy, has ensured this treasure has not only survived but flourished.

My faith remains that she will bring the latest saga to a happy conclusion. However, I understand the concern being expressed but apart from any discussions taking place there are matters in changing an operator which take time as with any legal situation.

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