Stagecoach in Norfolk to commercially run Coasthopper this winter

The winter operation of the Coasthopper is secured for 2015-16
A press release on the Norfolk County Council website this afternoon has revealed that the Coasthopper service has been saved for the Winter 2015 following years of uncertainty as to whether it would run over the winter months.

The press release reads as follows:

"The future of a popular coastal bus service has been secured, following agreement between Norfolk County Council and Stagecoach in Norfolk. 

The Coasthopper service, which annually carries around 500,000 passengers, will run an hourly service from October 12 between Hunstanton and Cromer until Easter 2016. 

The council’s longstanding investment in Coasthopper, building the route from scratch, had previously provided a platform for the summer elements to be operated on a commercial basis. Now Stagecoach in Norfolk will also operate this winter period and into next spring without council subsidy. 

Toby Coke, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: 
“The Coasthopper represents a vital means of transport for many residents in west Norfolk and across the north Norfolk coast, so it’s great news that Stagecoach will continue to operate the route throughout the winter and until next spring.

It is assumed that Lynx will no longer take on Coasthopper
“The fact that the County Council has managed to ensure that no subsidy continues to be required for this service means this is not just good news for passengers but the Norfolk taxpayer as well.” 

Andy Campbell, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Norfolk, said: "Coasthopper is a superb example of partnership working between public and private sectors. The effort and investment put in by both parties since the service started in 1996 has produced the success story that we see today. "I am delighted that we have been able to secure the future of the service with the winter timetable until next spring.”"

The subject of the Coasthopper changes is one which has baffled many of us. It is currently assumed that Lynx will no longer operate the service under council subsidy as originally expected from this coming October. As outlined in the article above, the service is able to run with no subsidy - all I can say is, it will be interesting to see what Lynx have planned for the buses they purchased to run the service.
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  1. While all are patting each other on the back just remember that this service was set up under a previous
    governments start up scheme where tax payers money was used where the private bus companies would not take the financial risk.
    After a period if a service was successful the bus company was supposed to take it on.
    At the very start Norfolk County Council owned at least two of the buses that operated the service.
    With regard to Lynx, if they were awarded the contract then they must be due compensation for expenses incurred at the very least.
    So I think it can be said that the winter Coasthopper is not entirely free from taxpayer support this winter.

  2. How interesting that Stagecoach can now afford to commercially provide a service that needed subsidy when a competitor is willing and able to take the route on.....

    1. Its not unusual actually.
      I have seen a lot of instances where bus companies need a subsidy to run a service but continue when the subsidy ends.
      With Coasthopper it might be all year round commercial concerns ie be seen all year

  3. A commercial tactic from the big boys!

    1. Protecting their service - would you allow another bus company to be seen on your route for six months - passengers would get used to them.