Second Norwich bus service under fire

The 12 and 12A could be cut, and only run as far as Wroxham
An article in the Great Yarmouth Mercury, forwarded to me by Jamie Skinner, has revealed that a second First Norwich bus service is under threat.

The 12 and 12A, which operates from Norwich to Stalham via Wroxham, would be cut and only operate as far as Wroxham. The changes would come into place from September 20th if approved by Norfolk County Council. Sanders also operate their service X11 to Norwich and Stalham, which would remain unaffected.

Buses to and from Stalham have been operated by First Eastern Counties for as long as I can remember - as the 54 via Plumstead Road and later part of the 14 and 14A from Wymondham via Dussindale.

In a statement to the press by the Town Councillor, it was said that good bus links and the vital for residents of Stalham as many of them have no other option. He also claimed however that he does see a lot of empty buses in the town.
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  1. Christopher Palmer11 August 2015 at 09:57

    It appears that Stalham would continue to receive a good service to and from Norwich with Sanders X11, but the villages of Ludham and Horning would appear to be badly affected by this cut.

  2. I'm not really surprised by this news. Sadly, the 12/12A service beyond Wroxham has nearly always been very lightly loaded and survived mainly on a small group of college students from Stalham and a small number of senior citizen concessionary passholders from Stalham, Catfield, Ludham and Horning. I thought it may have been prepared for 'hiving off' when the 14/14A services from Wymondham to Stalham were split at Wroxham where the service numbers were changed to 12/12A to get around EU tachograph regulations. Fortunately, the Wroxham-Stalham section of the route survived on that occasion. The next change to the 12/12A came this year when First found themselves up against strong competition from the newly introduced X11 service provided by Sanders Coaches, upon their takeover of the Neaves service 36 from Stalham to Norwich. Unfortunately, it seems that First had allowed the horse to bolt before locking the stable door by not promoting their services east of Wroxham to Horning, Ludham, Catfield, Sutton and Stalham, so allowing Sanders to virtually take over the route by offering more comfortable buses and a faster more direct service to Norwich. By the time First had responded by providing a faster link between Norwich and Stalham operating via Sprowston and direct along the A1151 to Wroxham, rather than the previous somewhat circuitous route via Yarmouth Road, Dussindale, Rackheath and Salhouse, Sanders had effectively 'cleared the road' of most Norwich bound passengers between Stalham and Wroxham, leaving very little passenger need for First's somewhat belatedly introduced 'Stalham Fast' service. It seems that recent history is repeating itself, with First continuing to 'hive off' it's rural services to the independent operators in their drive to increase profits. What has always amazed me is that when former First routes are taken over by independent operators, they seem to work wonders with them! Look how KonectBus transformed the services in and around Dereham and what a great success Sanders made of the Norwich to Cromer route and AnglianBus's transformation of the Norwich to Bungay and Halesworth route! Why couldn't the much larger FirstBus have done such things??

    1. My memory serves me differently in that First introduced a fast service from Stalham to Wroxham before any Neaves takeover.
      At the same time they reduced the service via Ludham.
      I am afraid it is a consequence of deregulation where compeditors cherry pick sections of route ie Norwich to Wroxham which in turn reduces income that may have covered loss making or borderline sections of route