Friday, 10 May 2019

Has The Phoenix Grown Its Feathers?

I said in my last post that things appeared to be looking up at Konect. That was good news as a monopoly is never good in a privatised industry. Today Konect revealed their proposals for the next round of timetable changes, and from what I can see there's not a single cut with many enhancements and route extensions. I'll reproduce their summary below, then put meat on the bones.

Please see below *proposed* timetable changes to parts of the Konectbus network for Sunday 7th July 2019. We're pleased to announce significant improvements to our network. Straight8 between Toftwood, Dereham and Norwich will operate up to every 20 minutes in the daytime Mondays to Saturdays, and there will be a later journey back from Norwich to Dereham & Toftwood at 2220. Route X6 will be extended beyond Attleborough to Thetford giving fast bus journey times between Thetford and Norwich via the A11. The 5 series will be enhanced will doubling of daytime frequencies to every 30 minutesbetween Eaton and Norwich, and Rackheath and Norwich. There will be up to 8 buses an hour along Yarmouth Road into Norwich. Park & Ride improvements include; a later bus back to Thickthorn P&R, later buses back to Sprowston P&R and an enhanced evening frequency to Airport P&R. There are other changes which are to reflect requests, improve reliability and better match supply with demand. The routes affected by these changes are listed above with details listed below.

Better still I'll let Konect say it all - I'm sure they won't mind positive publicity for a change!

Route 3 & 6
Thetford - Watton
Ashill - Watton
Watton - Hingham - N&NU Hospital (3) / Wymondham (6) - Norwich
The 6 journeys which start and finish in Ashill will be extended back/to Necton via Holme Hale.
The 1400 and 1500 6 from Watton to Norwich will operate via Hethersett Academy, New Cringleford and Cringleford replacing route 9A.
The 1515 and 1615 6 from Norwich to Watton will operate 10 minutes later at 1525 and 1625.
There will be a new route 3 0835 journey from Watton to Thetford via the villages on Saturdays. This bus will become the 0920 X6 Thetford to Norwich fast journey. There will be a return route 3 1515 journey from Thetford to Watton; the bus will have previously operated the 1420 X6 journey from Norwich to Thetford.

Route 5
Postwick P&R - Norwich

Minor timetable changes at peak to allow for traffic congestion. Saturday afternoon buses from Postwick P&R to operate via the A47 and Bracondale due to continuing traffic problems at the end of NCFC home football matches.

Route 5A/5C
Blofield Heath - Norwich - Eaton (5A)
Little Plumstead - Norwich (5C)

Eaton to Norwich will be served by route 5B (Stalham - Wroxham - Norwich) with an improved frequency of every 30 minutes through most of the day.

There will be a new Mondays to Saturdays evening journey from Norwich to the Plumsteads at 1930.

Blofield Heath and Plumsteads to Norwich routes will stay the same with revised times. Most journeys will continue to Mulbarton replacing route 37A which will offer through journey facilities (including to retail outlets on Hall Road such as Asda, and Mulbarton to the Rail Station) and improved reliability.

The East Harling to Norwich route 37A journeys will be included in the revised route 5B timetable.

Route 5B
Stalham - Wroxham - Norwich

Additional journeys will operate between Rackheath Industrial Estate and Norwich via Green Lane West and the normal 5B route. These additional journeys will operate between 0900 and 1700 giving Rackheath to Norwich a bus every 30 minutes.

There will be minor timetable adjustments to the Wroxham and Stalham end of the route to improve punctuality.

The 2030 from Norwich to Salhouse will be extended to Wroxham.

All buses will continue to Eaton village & Greenways replacing route 5A and doubling the frequency to every 30 minutes for most of the day.

Route X6
Attleborough - Norwich

Most journeys wil be extended beyond Attleborough from/to Thetford offering fast journeys between Thetford and Norwich!

There will be an additional route X6 journey from Great Ellingham (0710), Attleborough (0715) to Norwich via Thickthorn P&R (0740).

The section of route between Sprowston, Harvey Lane and Norwich will be replaced by new route 33.

Toftwood - Dereham - Norwich

The Mondays to Saturdays timetable will be increased to every 20 minutes for most of the day! Plus there will be a later journey on Mondays to Saturdays from Norwich to Dereham and Toftwood departing the Rail Station at 2210 and the Bus Station at 2220.

Additional city centre bus stops will be added on Prince of Wales Road (outside Budgens) and Red Lion Street (opposite Debenhams). Tha latter is hoped will appease those visiting the Theatre Royal.

The section off route between Riverside and Thorpe Road will be withdrawn due to lack of use. Buses will terminate/commence at the Rail Station bus stops on Thorpe Road.

All buses departing Norwich from 1850 onwards will call at Thickthorn Park & Ride replacing the late evening route 501 journeys.

Route X11
Sutton - Stalham - Wroxham - Norwich

Route X11 is a new fast journey to/from Norwich replacing similar route 502 journey. These express commuter journeys will no longer call at Sprowston P&R, but will stop on Sprowston Road at Blue Boar and at the Brickmakers. Mondays to Fridays only.

Route 33
Norwich - Harvey Lane - Plumstead Road - Norwich

Replaces route X6 between Sprowston and Norwich via Harvey Lane. This will provide new links between Thorpe Road and Plumstead Road surgery, and Plumstead Road area with Anglia Square and Magdalen Street area. Mondays to Fridays only.

Route 50 & 50A
Eaton Park/Cringleford - Norwich - Mousehold Heath

In the mornings buses heading to Mousehold Heath will omit Anglia Square, and in the afternoons buses from Mousehold Heath will omit Anglia Square. This change, and other timing changes, will improve reliability on this route

Route 501 (Park & Ride)
Airport P&R - Norwich - Thickthorn P&R

The evening Mondays to Saturdays timetable towards Airport P&R will increase to every 20 minutes until 2030. Departure times from Norwich Bus Station to the Airport P&R after 1830 will be at 1850, 1910, 1930, 1950, 2010 and 2030. The 2010 and 2030 departures from Norwich will extend beyond the Airport P&R to Sprowston P&R

For full details of other minor adjustments and links to timetables see here.

Konect are asking for comments on the proposals which should be submitted by May 21st.
I only have one - the 1520 X6 from Thetford to Norwich should also run on Saturdays to give customers from  Norwich the opportunity to visit Thetford. 1320 seems too early for a last bus back.

Apart from that I am heartened and impressed with the proposals. They are bringing new links, later journeys on key routes and congestion avoiding measures. It would seem real thought has gone into it, and I haven't been able to say that much over recent years. I hope fervently the changes are a success, but what I am now interested in is how the fleet is going to change. Konect have taken the fleet list down from their website for reasons unknown, but if Go Ahead are serious about resurrecting Konect from the utter disaster that was the management of Anglian, as well as giving up on routes like the 2 and 7 then they need to prove it by investing in quality new buses, not the constant stream of London and Southampton cast offs we have become used to. That will send signals to passengers, staff, and indeed other operators that they really are intent on coming back from the doldrums. I hope they do, and if I see any of these signs I will support them all the way. These proposals are a very positive start.


  1. Though the x6 extension is welcome I can't see it being successful witb the train and car. Haven't others tried and failed before?

    Also wish there was more subsidy for the East Harling bus. Lots of new developments in recent years with more proposed. (One application might have been accepted somewhere else along the route, forgot where)

  2. Good news at last! Looks like all your campaigning has finally paid off. Let's hope there's an improvement in fleet presentation too!

  3. Really surprised by doubling of the Eaton route. When I was young it was every 10 minutes, then every 20, then every 30, then First pulled out and Anglian ran it hourly (we miss you Paul).

    Not sure the numbers are there to make it work, but then maybe if it's more frequent more will use it and there's always people to be picked up and dropped off down Newmarket Road.

    1. Huge gap between about 17:05 and 18:00 on the new 5a, which is exactly when people who work in the city will want to come home! 30 min frequency apart from then? Also the first bus of the day at 07:30 is lost completely as is the stop at broadband business park.

      Seems a lot worse for fare paying city office workers (many of whom use First anyway down Newmarket Road) but better for the daytime crowd.

  4. Rail Timetable Changes

    It appears the Summer timetables are being phased in over a few weeks starting this Sunday. There appears though to have been little publicity about the timetable changes

  5. Interesting to see Konect having a recruitment and publicity drive at Dereham Station yesterday and sponsorship of the 20th anniversary mugs . They seem to be a step above on their marketing again .

  6. The Report on Bus services outside of London has just been released

    Lots of suggestions and stating what we have at present does not work but little in the way of any real way forward

    Anyway have a read