Scale of bus route cuts to Northumberland and North Tyneside revealed

The full scale of huge cuts to bus routes in Northumberland has been revealed.

By Daniel Holland
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 9:39 am

A raft of service cancellations, timetable changes, and diversions has been unveiled for Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle, amid a financial crisis facing the nation’s public transport networks.

Privately-owned bus operators are making plans to slash services as government funding that has helped cover their loss of ticket fare income during the Covid pandemic is due to come to an end in April.

With passenger numbers still roughly 25% down on pre-Covid levels, the companies say that means some services are becoming unsustainable.

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A number of bus services are being cut or changed in south east Northumberland and North Tyneside.

It is feared that bus routes in the North East could be cut by up to 17% as the region’s three big operators, Arriva, Go North East and Stagecoach, slash their mileage – removing evening or weekend buses, shortening routes, and cutting some services entirely.

The first stage of the cuts will take effect from Sunday, March 27 – with more to follow across the rest of the North East later in the spring.

Tyne and Wear Metro operator Nexus, which is facing a similar loss of emergency Covid relief itself, has announced a £4.5m rescue package to help stave off the worst of the cuts – but warns that it cannot save every service.

Huw Lewis, customer services director for Nexus, said: “The cuts being made by commercial companies as covid-relief funding ends represents the biggest single change to local bus services for 35 years.

“We are also linking the new publicly-funded services we are creating and taking on with the high-frequency bus routes commercial companies continue to operate or Metro.

“As well as recasting our own pattern of services we have worked in partnership with the bus companies who have also revised their changes in places to better maintain local connections.

“The scale of the changes means we are not able to provide a like-for-like replacement to every route being cut, but we can seek to keep local people connected.”

Here are full details of every route that Nexus says it expected to be cut or changed, and whether Nexus is replacing it:

Service 1 (Go North East) between Whitley Bay, Newcastle and Gateshead

Go North East is introducing a new Monday to Saturday daytime timetable operating every 20 minutes and Sunday daytime every 30 minutes, but has withdrawn evening services on this route.

Nexus currently funds half-hourly daily evening trips on service 1 between Whitley Bay and North Shields, but this will be reduced to an hourly evening service between Whitley Bay town centre and Newcastle.

Service 1 (Stagecoach) between Slatyford and Coach Lane/Cobalt via Newcastle City Centre

Stagecoach will cut one part of the service, between Coach Lane university campus and Cobalt.

Service 11 between Whitley Bay, North Tyneside Hospital, Howdon and Wallsend (also affects routes 41 and 41A)

Go North East will withdraw this route, which is also currently operated in the evening by Central Taxis under contract to Nexus.

Nexus will fund a new service, 317, every 30 minutes day and evening to replace the 11 on the same route between Whitley Bay and Howdon, but also serving North Shields Ferry landing. The 317 will also serve parts of Howdon and Holy Cross where Go North East is expected to withdraw routes 41 and 41A.

Service 18 from Walker and Byker to the Freeman Hospital, Longbenton, Four Lane Ends and Quorum

Stagecoach will withdraw this route during the daytime, while a contract Nexus funds for evening services expires at the same time. Nexus will fund the continuation of the whole route, daytime and evening. The 18 will operate every 30 minutes during the daytime, with a reduced hourly evening service.

Service 19 between North Shields, Percy Main, Silverlink, Cobalt, Northumberland Park, Cramlington and Ashington (also affects routes 333 and 359)

Go North East is withdrawing this route, but Nexus will fund a replacement service jointly with Northumberland County Council and Cobalt Business Park.

This would operate hourly from Cramlington via a new route through High Pit, Seaton Delaval, Seghill and Backworth Heritage Green (replacing the 359 in this area) and then by the existing 19 route every 30 minutes from Northumberland Park to Percy Main and then direct to North Shields, also covering a loop of North Shields Fish Quay and the Ferry Landing (replacing the 333).

The service between Cramlington and Ashington would be reduced to one peak time service in each direction.

Service 41 and 41A between Wallsend, Hadrian Lodge, High Farm, Battle Hill and Hadrian Park

Go North East will withdraw this service through Howdon and Holy Cross. Nexus plans to step in to fund a new service, 317, every 30 minutes to maintain links from these areas.

Go North East will re-route alternate 41 and 41A trips between Wallsend and Hadrian Park to also serve Hadrian Lodge.

Service 42 and 42A between Wallsend, Forest Hall, Killingworth, Dudley, Seaton Burn, Hazlerigg, Airport and Kingston Park (also affects M71 in Newcastle)

Go North East will withdraw these services and Nexus funding for some trips on them will end at the same time.

Nexus plans to replace these with a new service, 342, which would operate hourly between Wallsend, Kingston Park and Westerhope.

Journeys on the 42 between Killingworth and Cramlington, and on the 42A between Bank Foot and Dinnington via the Airport, would be lost.

Service 51 and 51A between Newcastle, Holystone and Whitley Bay

Nexus will fund an extension of the 51 to/from Whitley Bay Metro and a diversion of the 51A to additionally serve Hadrian Lodge.

Service 52 between Newcastle, Freeman Hospital, Quorum Park, Killingworth, Dudley, Cramlington

With Go North East withdrawing the 42/42A daytime service and in order for Nexus to maintain connections currently funded on the 42/42A on an evening and Sunday, it is proposed that the funding will be used to deliver new daily evening trips on service 52 between Newcastle and Cramlington.

Service 53 between North Shields, Killingworth and Cramlington

Arriva and Nexus plan to divert the 53 between New York and Shiremoor to additionally serve Cobalt Business Park.

Service 55 between Forest Hall, Four Lane Ends and Newcastle

Arriva is expected to reduce the evening frequency to hourly, with no services on a Sunday evening.

Service 333 between North Shields Ferry Landing, Fish Quay, North Shields and Tynemouth Broadway

Nexus plans to withdraw this service, with the changed 19 and new 317 services providing links between the Ferry Landing, Fish Quay and North Shields town centre.

But this does mean that Tynemouth Broadway, between Beach Road and Manor Road, will no longer have a bus service.

Service 335 in North Tyneside (also affects 359, K1, and K2)

Nexus currently provides this service and plans to change it to an hourly daytime service, but with a revised route which adds Murton Village, Silverlink and Quorum Park to Killingworth.

Service 359 between Backworth Heritage Green, Northumberland Park, West Allotment, Murton, North Tyneside Hospital and the Marden Estate

Nexus currently provides this service and plans to withdraw it, in order to redirect funding to more popular routes that are under threat.

Service K1 and K2 in Killingworth

Nexus funds these services and plans to withdraw them, but passengers will be able to use the new 335 and 342.

Service Q3 between Wallsend, Walker, St Peter’s Basin, City Centre, Regent Centre, Great Park

Go North East plan to withdraw the Q3 between St Peter’s Basin and Wallsend and operate the service via Osborne Road.

W group of local services in the Whitley Bay area.

Nexus plans to merge services W1 and W1A into a single hourly service and withdraw the W3.