Status quo on post-16 transport charges

A Go North East bus in North Tyneside.
A Go North East bus in North Tyneside.

The county council is not going to review its charges for post-16 transport, despite concerns over cheaper fares being raised by a councillor.

At this month’s full meeting of Northumberland County Council, Alnwick’s Coun Gordon Castle highlighted that Go North East has introduced a flat rate of £1 per journey for all young people under the age of 18, ‘a significant reduction compared to county council charges for home-to-school, post-16 transport’.

He added: “In view of this, would the council please re examine these post-16 charges with a view to at least matching and not exceeding any unsubsidised commercial costs available locally?”

The response, from the cabinet member for local services, Coun Ian Swithenbank, stated: ‘Go North East does not provide a county­wide service: they operate mainly in the west, with just one or two routes in the populous south-­east and none in the north of Northumberland. The £1 under­-19 flat rate covers their services, bar the 122 along the Hadrian’s Wall route, to attract young people to use spare capacity on Go North East buses at a subsidised rate.

‘The council already provides substantial support for post­-16 transport; the current average cost per head is more than £1,200, but NCC charges just £600 for a pass.

‘We work closely with commercial bus operators to ensure the best ticket prices are available for post­-16 students.

‘Arriva, our main operator, does offer a range of zoned tariffs specifically to suit Northumberland students.’