Arriva bus routes around Cramlington, Whitley Bay, Killingworth, and Newcastle at risk of cuts

Some bus routes between Northumberland, North Tyneside, and Newcastle are at risk of being cut following a downturn in passenger numbers, Arriva has announced.
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Bus operator Arriva has said it intents to withdraw a number of bus services, including the 51 (Newcastle – Holystone – Whitley Bay), 52 (Newcastle – Killingworth – Cramlington), 53 (North Shields – Killingworth – Cramlington), 54 (Newcastle – Killingworth – Whitley Bay), and 55 (Newcastle – Forest Hall).

Arriva also proposes discontinuing the Freeman Hospital to Battle Hill section of the 533 route.

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A spokesperson said: “Arriva has given advance notification of its intention to withdraw a number of services that have been operating from our temporary depot at Walkergate.

North Tyneside councillors have started a petition to rally public support for the at-risk routes.North Tyneside councillors have started a petition to rally public support for the at-risk routes.
North Tyneside councillors have started a petition to rally public support for the at-risk routes.

“This notification has been given to our delivery partners, including Nexus and Transport North East, to assist them in identifying alternative operators and ensuring a smooth transition for customers.

“No final decisions have yet been made regarding the future of these services.

“The proposed changes are a last resort following extensive efforts to find a sustainable way forward.

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"Unfortunately, due to a combination of operational constraints, as well as the challenges posed by reduced customer numbers following the pandemic, Arriva has been unable to find an alternative viable option.”

North Tyneside Council’s Labour has launched a petition at in an attempt to show public support for the continuation of the services.

Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside Carl Johnson said: “The cuts to these services by Arriva will completely cut off communities from public transport.

"These buses connect to our town centres, doctors’ surgeries, and the two hospitals residents of North Tyneside use, as well as major employment sites.

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“Arriva is closing their deport and changes to the way the Conservative government funds buses now mean Arriva do not feel they can run these routes anymore.

He added: “Most buses now receive the majority of their funding through public funds, whether it is concessionary travel reimbursement, the Bus Recovery Grant, or Nexus funding arrangements, but we have no control over the network.

"We urgently need buses back in public control and make sure they go where people need them, not just where the profit takes them.

“In the past, because of investment from Labour councillors, we managed to save a number of routes. We can do so again but we need the public’s help to sign the petition and put the pressure on.”

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Nexus is currently examining if other operators would be willing to take over the at-risk routes.

Huw Lewis, customer services director at Nexus said: “We have approached the other two commercial bus operators in the region, Stagecoach and Go North East, to ask if they would take on some or all of the routes that Arriva are stepping away from.

"We do not have formal powers to make this happen but we can act as a middle-person to get the best solution for local people as part of our new partnership with the bus operators, and the team are doing all they can.”