Fifteen hundred people have signed a petition calling for an end to twenty five years of privatised bus services in Tyne and Wear.
Next week, councillors will decide whether to strip private bus companies of control over routes, timetables and fares. It would be the first area outside London to do so.
More top news
Middlesbrough's survival hopes were seriously dented after slipping to a 1 nil defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Crystal Palace.
The 2-0 defeat - their sixth in 11 league matches - for bottom side Sunderland saw them slip four points from safety .
Ciaran Clark's 82nd-minute header earned a huge point in the race for promotion after the Robins had gone in at half-time with a shock lead