Bus proposal is branded radical

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Two tourist bus services which link a major city with parts of Northumberland could receive an overhaul, in what has been described as a ‘radical change’.

Arriva has drawn up an alternative way of operating the Sunday 508 and 714 services and has put the proposal to Northumberland County Council.

Operating from Newcastle, the 508 goes to Rothbury and the 714 runs to Kielder.

But the company is suggesting combining the routes.

Nick Knox, of Arriva, said: “We have proposed an alternative way of operating the 508 and 714 services to the county council which includes combining the two routes to make them more efficient, and offering Rothbury a new Sunday service.

“We take the views of the communities in which we operate very seriously as we strive to offer the best possible service to our customers.”

Brief details of the proposal are listed in the county council’s Public Transport Newsletter for February/March 2013.

The document describes Arriva’s proposal as ‘innovative’ and states that wider discussion with affected communities is needed because the council feels it would be a ‘radical change’.

An authority spokeswoman said: “We’ll be writing to all the communities concerned to find out their views, including how many people use the services, whether they think the times and routes meet their needs and if there are any changes they believe need to be made.

“We are very happy to work with the communities concerned to help them find out the views of residents in any way they think best.”

She said the services will remain unchanged for the summer of 2013 and the consultation is on the services for 2014.

The newsletter also states that the 418 Travelsure service – Alnwick and Belford via the coast – will continue to fill the gaps in the Arriva X18 timetable with the intention of providing an hourly summer service between the two locations.

Travelsure will be operating a couple of additional journeys at 9am and 1pm from Alnwick and 11.35am from Belford.

Meanwhile, Travelsure’s 460 service – Ellingham and Alnwick – will continue, after an agreement between the organisations involved and it is hoped there will be further suggestions that will improve the opportunities to use the service.

○ Arriva has launched its Low Floor Promise across many of its services in Northumberland, including 1, 2, 14, 33, 35, 43, 53/53a, 57/57a, 308, X4, X5, X10, X11, X13, X14, X18, X21 and X22.

It guarantees that all vehicles operating on the services included will be 100 per cent easy access. If the bus is not wheelchair-accessible, the company will call a taxi.