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Norfolk Green grows as First retrenches

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Norfolk Green is expanding with the acquisition of First’s services in the Kings Lynn area. The company set up by Ben Colson in 1996 will take on around 35 drivers and First’s local services. Norfolk Green also takes over First’s office in Kings Lynn bus station, but not its depot. The trunk X1 service running between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth will remain with First.

Alan Pilbeam, managing director of First East England Buses, says: “The effect of public spending cuts in the year ahead will create challenges for local bus operators in the area. By selling our Kings Lynn town services to Norfolk Green we can concentrate on further improving and developing our flagship X1 service, which links the major towns and cities in the east of England. Norfolk Green will continue to ensure the ongoing welfare of our Kings Lynn drivers and we will maintain a base in the town to support the X1 service.”

First cites a reduction in the amount of money provided for concessionary pass holders and for socially necessary bus services as influencing its decision.

Colson adds: “The various cutbacks in central and local government funding – with the prospect of more cuts to come next year – are forcing changes to bus services everywhere, and by increasing the size of our business, we should be better positioned to face the next round of public funding cuts than either of us would have been separately.”

Norfolk Green is not taking over any of First’s vehicles, but is acquiring 12 buses for the services it is taking over. This will take its fleet to 70 vehicles.

www.norfolkgreen.co.uk

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