‘Rural bus services cost more’

The county council is altering its review of bus subsidies to reflect the fact that rural services are longer and more expensive to run.

At Monday night’s meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council, members heard that the 501 Travelsure service in the evenings from Belford to Beadnell, which was under threat, may earn a reprieve.

Under the original review, any service where the subsidy exceeded £5 per passenger was under threat.

Now it will be set at £3 for journeys of under five miles, £4.50 between five and ten and £6 for ten miles or more.

While the original figures suggested that the 501 evening service had a subsidy per passneger of more than £15, more recent figures show that it is now around £6.

Members also heard that the service may be changed between Berwick and Alnwick so that a new service between Berwick and Belford would tie in with the Arriva services.

Coun Tom Orrin said that he had been told that there would be no alterations to the Arriva timetable over the winter as there was last year, with no changes until Easter.

• The new Travelsure excursion to Newcastle and the Metrocentre on Thursday evenings, ran for the first time on August 23. Replacing the axed bus service, it has to be booked in advance and requires 20 passengers to run.