End of year review - The Big Boys

In the second part of our end of year reviews, we take a look at the principal happenings from the big group operators in Norwich and surrounding areas.

Anglianbus (Go-Ahead)
One of a trio of deckers which arrived at Anglianbus this year
It was a bad year for Anglianbus. The network has shrunk considerably, as has the Peak Vehicle Requirement. Early on in the year three East Lancs Omnidekka bodied Scania N94UBs were acquired, and there has been a small handful of transfers between Hedingham and Anglianbus. Other than this, there is very little to go back over from Anglianbus.

November saw network revisions and some big cuts. There were substantial changes on the 80, 81, 81A, 87, 88 and X88. The 7 was extended to operate all the way through to Lowestoft before changing to a 61, and a new route through Gorleston taken. The Sunday and Public Holiday service was axed, leaving it solely in the hands of First's competing X1. The 60 was withdrawn between Beccles and Lowestoft and the other sections of the route split, whilst the 82 and 82A was rerouted to one service being the 82

One of a fleet of new Wright Streetlite Maxs new in November
I will focus purely on the Norwich happenings - check East Norfolk Bus Blog for relevant updates in their usual yearly review. The repaint program at First Norwich really kicked off during 2015, there are now more 'Olympia' liveried buses, and buses with liveried for Purple Line, Orange Line, Turquoise Line and Yellow Line services.

Eleven new Wright Streetlite Maxs delivered in December saw the Green Line livery hit the street too. New Wright Streetdecks are expected for the Pink Line at some point during this year, which will add further colour to the Norwich rainbow.

Five Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLEs have joined the Norwich allocation from Ipswich where reductions saw reduced PVRs. Alongside this was the introduction of 11 brand new Wright Streetlite Maxs during November and December for Green Line services. This has seen almost all of the Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7Ls leave the county for Bristol and Bath.

Early December saw big changes to the X1, with new links in Great Yarmouth, and the X2, with new direct journeys and a new X22 for the longer journeys. In Norwich, a 39A was introduced to create a new link to the newly opened ASDA supermarket at Hall Road.

Konectbus (Go-Ahead)
A sad moment on November 1st as the last ever 2 departs
The biggest happening at Konectbus this year was the takeover of the entire Norwich Park and Ride service. This included the running of all sites and Norwich Bus Station, and saw eighteen brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s join the fleet, which featured high back seating with leather headrests, next stop voice announcements, wood effect flooring and information screens. The move also saw a new depot at Rackheath Industrial Estate.

In May, Konectbus branched their network Eastwards with the introduction of new service 72 (Norwich-Brundall-Blofield-Acle-Great Yarmouth) and 71 (Great Yarmouth-Hemsby-Wroxham), plus service 16 linking Dereham and Wymondham. The latter was withdrawn in November due to very low usage.

August saw the introduction of a fleet of five brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s with charging points and high back seating with leather headrests for the Konectexpress 8.

From November 2nd, the 2 and 2A was controversially withdraw and swayed MP action and a petition of over 1,000 signatures. 

Stagcoach in Norfolk
On May 1st, the decision was officially made to drop the well-known Norfolk Green name in favour of Stagecoach in Norfolk. From the same date, the former Norfolk Green operation came under common management with Stagecoach East, which saw the introduction of new Megarider tickets in the area. Buses have began being repainted, and most of the non-standard Stagecoach types plucked from service and replaced by much more common types.

A small fleet of five Optare M990SLR were delivered over the summer for predominant use on the King's Lynn town network.

Stagecoach announced they would not be running the Coasthopper service over the Winter due to the losses it makes. Council funding was awarded to Lynx and Stagecoach chose to compete, which saw council funding withdrawn. Stagecoach re-registered with VOSA too late to continue operating the Wells-Sheringham section of the route and had to catch up with it a month later.
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About Kieran Smith

Norwich Buses Blog was founded in December 2013 by Sam Larke after he left another popular blog, Norwich Bus Page. Since it's launch, the site has grown dramatically, especially whilst written solely by Kieran Smith during 2015. The blog is now in it's third year and we look forward to more success and growth in the future. If you think you'd make a good writer for Norwich Buses Blog, please do get in touch via email: samuel.larke@gmail.com
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