All aboard as the Norton Connector bus picks up first passengers around parishes
The community bus service linking Norton with St Peter’s and Worcestershire Parkway station is up and running.
The Norton Connector started ferrying passengers from the middle of September.
It runs from Mondays to Fridays, filling the gap left when the previous service was scrapped by another operator.
The Norton Connector is being operated by community transport charity Worcester Wheels.
It was the brainchild of Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council and was made possible by funding from Wychavon District Council.
Volunteer driver Dormston Cook of Worcester Wheels said that on the first trip he had “very happy passengers, who couldn’t thank the parish council and Worcester Wheels enough”.
Norton-juxta-Kempsey parish councillor John Waizeneker, who was instrumental in setting up the project, stressed that the Norton Connector was open to anyone to use, not just Norton-juxta-Kempsey residents.
He explained that there had been enquiries from people outside the parish asking if they were allowed to use it.
“The answer is emphatically yes,” he said “All they have to do is phone Worcester Wheels on 01905 450654.”
Wychavon District Council funded the pilot service in the form of a £30,000 Community Legacy Grant while Worcestershire County Council provided the bus for Worcester Wheels to operate the service for Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council.
A Covid-compliant launch event was held at Norton Parish Hall in Littleworth before the service began operating.
It was attended by represent-atives of Wychavon District Council, Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council, St Peter’s Parish Council, Worcestershire County Council and Worcester Wheels.
Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston cut a ceremonial ribbon to launch the service.
The MP then joined invited passengers for a short trip on the minibus around some of the stops it calls at.
Kevin Fincher, chairman of Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council, said: “The parish council is very appreciative of the funding support from Wychavon and the success of the combined project team from Worcestershire County Council, Worcester Wheels and the parish council in delivering the Norton Connector.
“Many of our residents will now have regular access to shops and other transport links, which has been completely lacking since the bus services were withdrawn.”
Wychavon Conservative councillor Rob Adams, Portfolio Holder for Strong Communities, Culture and Sport, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the Norton Connector minibus service.
“It will be a much-needed lifeline for residents within the community.
“It is great to see that the Community Legacy Grant funding has made this a reality.”
Littleworth resident Mavis Barnett was looking forward to using the Norton Connector.
She said it would enable her to visit St Peter’s Garden Centre, Tesco in St Peter’s and a friend in Worcester’s Bath Road.
“I’m hoping it will benefit a lot of the older people,” she added.
nFind your cut-out and keep Norton Connector timetable on the back page of this edition.