Changes to bus route are ‘completely unacceptable’

Labour MPs argue the new powers should be extended across all higher-tier authorities
Labour MPs argue the new powers should be extended across all higher-tier authorities

Concerns have been expressed after a bus route serving a number of remote communities in Northumberland was changed.

As of last Sunday, the Arriva X20 between Newcastle and Alnwick no longer stops at Togston and North Broomhill.

There is also a revised route between Hadston and Amble, with buses running via the A1068 and Percy Drive instead of Broomhill and Acklington Road.

This is to serve the growing residential areas to the south of Amble and improve access to both the Links Estate and Coquet Enterprise Park.

But Northumberland County Council’s business chairman Coun Scott Dickinson has described the changes as ‘completely unacceptable’.

He said: “This removes the ability for elderly people to access the doctors or indeed hospital appointments without travelling to Morpeth first.

“The alternative service does not enter Hadston; it stops at the road entrance, cutting off key amenities in Hadston that serve older people.

“We’ve received complaints from residents about the changes and a simple trip to Ashington will turn into a four-bus journey which is simply not practical. We will be taking this issue up with Arriva.”

Nick Knox, Arriva’s area managing director, said: “We’re sorry to hear of the concerns raised. Patronage on the X20 around Togston and North Broomhill had been particularly low, which led to the decision to reroute the service in January to serve new areas previously with no service.

“Residents of Togston and North Broomhill can use our hourly X18 service which still serves these areas and stops within a few hundred metres of the facilities at Hadston.”

Broomhill and Acklington Road will also be served by the X18 and, if necessary, connections can be made with the X20 at Amble or Widdrington Station.