Passengers may have to pay to keep bus route

Vee Robinson, chief executive of North East Equality and Diversity (NEED), with one of the organisation's 12 minibuses.
Vee Robinson, chief executive of North East Equality and Diversity (NEED), with one of the organisation's 12 minibuses.

Bus users may have to contribute to a service in Swarland if they want it to continue.

The North East Equality and Diversity (NEED) service, which runs on a Thursday in replacement of the axed Arriva 813 route, was stopped last week because the subsidy from Northumberland County Council was cut.

At last week’s Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council meeting, members heard that the body is looking into subsidising the bus.

But it would potentially mean passengers would have to pay to use it, when currently most use concessionary passes which means their journey is free.

Clerk Lisa Hamlin has written to other parish councils whose residents use the service but has only had a response from Harbottle and Rothbury,

She added that she has also written to all the passengers who use the Thursday service to ask if they would be willing to pay.

But the council is not prepared to subsidise the whole route as that would mean paying for other parishes.

Mrs Hamlin said: “It would cost £12 per person there and back but if we collect some of the money and the parish council puts some in, NEED can still get funding.”

It is estimated that residents would be charged £6 per journey.