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More hopper buses to run this summer

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:17 07 July 2010

Travelling round the Norfolk coast is set to get even easier this summer as a popular bus service expands once again.

The Coasthopper, which runs from Cromer to King's Lynn, has seen passenger numbers rise dramatically in recent years as more and more people use it to visit the area's coastal towns and villages.

Travelling round the Norfolk coast is set to get even easier this summer as a popular bus service expands once again.

The Coasthopper, which runs from Cromer to King's Lynn, has seen passenger numbers rise dramatically in recent years as more and more people use it to visit the area's coastal towns and villages.

This summer, to cope with growing demand, the service will once again be extended.

Rob Bennett, commercial manager for Norfolk Green which runs the service, said the summer season timetable was already in action with buses running every 30 minutes along the coast, seven days a week. He added: “We are also offering slightly later buses into the evenings.”

But from May until September the Norfolk Green buses will also be picking up passengers from areas a little further from the seaside than they would usually venture to thanks to a brand new service.

The Coasthopper Xtra will travel along an alternative route every two hours from Sheringham to King's Lynn.

It will take in new stops including the Kelling Heath holiday park, which has not had a bus service before, Holt, Docking and Sedgeford.

By cutting out Hunstanton along the route, the Coasthopper Xtra will also shorten journey times by about 25 minutes for passengers travelling to King's Lynn to catch a train.

Mr Bennett said the bus would also join up with the usual Coasthopper service to provide extra seats at some of the busiest times - including the stretch from Cley to Brancaster.

It is the latest addition to the coastal service which began in 1996 with a route which only needed two buses to keep it going.

With 12 vehicles now serving the area throughout the year, the commercial manager said it was not only pensioners making use of their free bus passes to travel up and down the coast but younger passengers too.

“We're attracting people of all ages. The last two or three years it has really gone through the roof. We carried 420,000 people in 2009. That's great but it's also a real challenge to meet that demand.

“Every year since we started we have always carried more people. I would hope that we would carry even more this year, but we also hope some of those who had to stand last year would get a seat.”

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