Norfolk Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledges:
• Continued support for road improvements where there is an economic case and local support
• Using the powers and inﬂuence we have to provide integrated and sustainable transport for Norfolk, including through ticketing
• Bringing pressure to government and rail franchisees to provide reliable, accessible and aﬀordable rail services
For too long, the people of Norfolk have been let down by poor road and public transport links. Unless you can aﬀord to run a car, it can be diﬃcult and expensive to get to shops, medical appointments, work, school and college or even to visit friends and family members.
It is time to start joining up the transport infrastructure we have and developing the best possible services – especially bus services. In Norwich bus journeys are increasing after sustained investment.
What’s good for Norwich is good for Norfolk. Targeted investment and partnerships with bus companies, community transport groups and other councils has talked about for years but never delivered. Working with employers to synchronise bus arrival times with business start and ﬁnish times and coordinating with rail services and the airport are sensible ways to make it easier to use public transport. More passengers make services more ﬁnancially viable.
Ticketing in Norfolk is notoriously complicated, confusing and inconvenient. Labour will invest to introduce smart ticketing to reduce costs and make it easier to buy through tickets whatever the mode of transport.
There is a strong case for more investment. More people going to work resulting from increased educational achievement; reducing loneliness that leads to extra calls on the NHS and ensuring people can get help when they need it. The common sense and convenience of a good, integrated transport system will ultimately help cover the costs. Public transport in Norfolk will never be able to fully pay its way without subsidy which is why Labour will commit to earmark money annually to make improvements. Labour will also vigorously lobby the Government and Investment Agencies to ensure that Norfolk gets a fair deal for public transport services.
The promised new rolling stock under the Abellio contract has yet to materialise and there has been no announcement yet about the money needed to upgrade the rail infrastructure which the new trains will need. The old infrastructure is unreliable so that when upgrade work eventually starts, services will be disrupted. At best, this means passengers will simply be sitting in newer and more comfortable trains which are stll being delayed and disrupted and/or still enduring the same rail replacement bus services. “Norwich in 90” still seems like a pipe dream.