Axed bus routes on North Tyneside to be replaced but fears community still 'cut off'

While a number of services have been saved, North Tyneside’s Labour Group believe more can be done. Credit: PA

Communities on Tyneside could become cut off from "vital services" despite some bus services being saved.

Go North East announced it would be saving the Tyneside routes 52, 53, 54 and 55 after the public transport giant Arriva, previously said it would withdraw these services.

Arriva also said it intended to cut route 51 and shorten route 553.

  • 51 Newcastle: Holystone – Whitley Bay

  • 52 Newcastle: Killingworth – Cramlington

  • 53 North Shields: Killingworth – Cramlington

  • 54 Newcastle: Killingworth – Whitley Bay

  • 55 Newcastle: Forest Hall (Meadway)

  • 553: (Arriva propose to discontinue the Freeman Hospital to Battle Hill section of the route) 

The move was criticised by North Tyneside's Deputy Mayor, Carl Johnson, who said it would result in residents being cut off from vital services.

Passengers have also condemned the plans saying it would be a "disaster" for communities.

Following Arriva's announcement, North Tyneside Council and Nexus have been working together to try and find a solution, and encourage other companies to follow Go North East and cover those being cut.

Go North East will operate the routes Monday-Saturday during the day and early evening. Credit: PA

Dan Graham, commercial development manager at Go North East, said: “We have confirmed to Nexus that Go North East plans to provide replacement bus services for the 52, 53, 54 and 55 routes.

“These services provide key links to town centres, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals, and we are stepping in to save some of these vital bus links."

Go North East however has only registered to operate the routes from Monday to Saturday during the day and early evening.

While a number of services have been saved, North Tyneside’s Labour Group believe more can be done.

Deputy Mayor Carl Johnson said: “It is great news Go North East has stepped in to save some of the services cancelled by Arriva. However, I understand they will not be operating them on the same days, frequency, or times as Arriva currently do.

“We need to keep the pressure of Go North East and Nexus to ensure they keep as frequent as possible services on all these routes, so communities are not cut off from public transport.”

Arriva's plans are 'a work in progress' according to transport operator Nexus. Credit: PA

Huw Lewis, from Nexus, said: “The good news for people in North Tyneside is that they can count on many of the bus services they have today being there in the future, in one way or another.

“We have been working behind the scenes to encourage the other commercial bus companies to step in where Arriva plans to withdraw routes in September, though we don’t expect they will cover all the gaps.

"This is ‘work in progress’ but the fact that Go North East is ready to take on parts of these routes as a commercial operator is a very good start.

“It is good to see that Go North East has registered a number of new services with the Traffic Commissioner and we hope that Stagecoach might do the same. Go North East has only registered to operate buses during the day and early evening from Monday to Saturday, however. We will need to see what interest Stagecoach has and then Nexus will look at how we can best use public money to provide buses in the evenings and on Sundays, or in areas that would otherwise be left without a local route.”

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