Arriva pulls out of controversial bus service

A BUS company has pulled out of taking over a disputed service to a north Northumberland village, the Gazette can reveal.

The move comes after gruntled residents have racked up more than 1,000 names on a petition against a change to their route operator.

Arriva North East, which was due to take over Shilbottle’s 472 service from April 1, has decided not to go ahead with the contract.

In January, we reported that residents and the parish council were up in arms about the company taking over the 472 service, which has been run by Travelsure for the last 12 months. In addtion, they said that no warning was given and no consultation was made with the village prior to the change.

The service, which also covers Alnwick town centre, was previously run by Arriva, but when it withdrew, Travelsure, based in Seahouses, took over the contract for a year.

However, a tender was put out with Arriva winning back the service.

Parish councillor Elisabeth Haddow praised Travelsure for how they had run the service and criticised the poor service they had received from Arriva North East. There were also concerns from Travelsure who felt that, as a small company, they were at a disadvantage over the procurement process.

But Arriva North East has now confirmed it will not be running the service from next month.

Nigel Featham, managing director for Arriva North East, said: “I can confirm Arriva North East will not be running the 472 tendered service from April 1, however the route will still remain in service but be run by another operator.”