In preparation for the new academic year First Bus has announced a series of changes to their existing bus routes.
Of particular concern to students will be changes to the 25 and 26 line, which will see buses run up to every 10 minutes during the day, as well as buses every 8 minutes between 7.50am and 8.40am and again from 4pm to 6.30pm. On the 26 line, extra buses will be provided along Earlham Road between 8 and 8:40 AM to meet student demands.
Both of these announcements will be welcomed by students living in the Golden Triangle, and if First can deliver these services as promised then they are sure to be well received throughout the year. Concrete reported last year of recurring issues with the 25 and 26 lines that saw packed buses often passing staff and students three times over.
However, no changes have been made to the notoriously unreliable 21 and 22 lines – affecting students living in Bowthorpe and Threescore. The 21 and 22 have often been criticised for being late, or not turning up at all – which has led to complaints that First are not doing enough to accommodate the ever-expanding number of students at UEA.
While this news has been met with cautious optimism by many students – for those living outside of the Golden Triangle it raises more questions than answers.
Student Union Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer Georgina Burchell expressed this issue was of concern to a number of students, stating that “811 students told us that improving transport to and from campus was important or somewhat important.” A further 977 students believe that “reducing the costs that students face on campus is important or somewhat important.” She added that the SU “would have liked to have seen First Bus release a more regular service for the Orange Line (21/22), at the very least, which has a big impact on the large number of students who live in the Bowthorpe, West Earlham and Anglia Square area.”
“We have a meeting with the Marketing Manager from First Eastern Counties Buses this week to come up with a way of working where we can continue to make positive changes on the service and student-friendly prices moving forward.”
First Buses Norfolk have been contacted for comment.