CT operation runs town services on O licences

West Norfolk Community Transport Project invests £1m in new routes

West Norfolk Community Transport Project (WNCTP) is operating a series of town bus routes using an O licence.

To run the services, the operator has added new Wrightbus StreetLites and Mellor Stratas to its fleet. It has invested £1m to launch the new routes for the area following a decision by Stagecoach to largely exit those parts. The fund has been put together in order to buy a new depot, offices and maintenance area at Old Meadow Road, Hardwick, plus the buses.

The town routes are being run under the company’s Go to Town brand and are the 2 from North Lynn, the 3 from North and South Wootton, the 4 from Grange/Pandora and the 5 from Gaywood Park. They replace Stagecoach routes.

The company had already traded as Go to Town on some routes it runs into Lynn from outlying areas not served by conventional bus companies. The company is a registered charity, so that any money made over and above costs is guaranteed to be ploughed back in to provide specialist dial-a-bus routes for those people who are unable to use ordinary buses, either because of their own mobility issues or because local transport is not provided in their village or near to their home.

The Operators licences used to run the routes were already owned by WNCTP before plans were in place to run these services, with Howard Russell, Chief Executive, saying they “date back years, we had just never surrendered them”. Commenting on the DfT’s reinterpretation of Section 19/22 operations that community transport operations commonly operate under, he said: “It will lead to the closure of community transport operations. They are not being run for profit, they are being run for people with no other transport option. There are smaller operators out there that have plans to pack-up. It’s going to be a loss for people most at need of transport. We are large enough to pull through this, we have a Transport Manager on our team, but smaller community transport operators don’t have that or the expertise.”

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