Matthew Neville

Nexus sets out £4.3m rescue package in response to bus cuts in Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside

Nexus today set out a £4.3m rescue package to respond to cuts being made by commercial bus company Go North East to services it operates across Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside.

The cuts to routes and services being made by Go North East in response to lower passenger numbers since the pandemic would leave some communities without bus services and cut links to shops and hospitals, business parks, schools and colleges.

Nexus has, in response, drawn up a £4.3m package to replace services which would otherwise be lost, or re-cast publicly-funded routes it already provides to mitigate the worst effects of cuts set to take effect from July 24.

It is the second time this year Nexus has been “forced to step in”, using funds provided by local councils in Tyne and Wear, following a similar rescue package it put in place due to cuts by commercial bus companies in Newcastle and North Tyneside in March.

Nexus has sought feedback from local people on its proposals and has pledged to take further measures to protect and adapt bus services as a result of this consultation, further increasing the cost of its final package.

Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council and chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “Our communities will understandably be concerned about the impact of Go North East’s service cuts which are due to come into play next month.

“The bus network is something local people rely on every day and it is vital that services are available for them when they need them. Unfortunately bus ridership is still way below pre-pandemic levels and with government Covid-19 funding support due to end in October, the operators are making cuts in response.

“It is great news that Nexus is able to step in and make sure that communities stay connected. I fear that there may be more difficult choices ahead for bus operators and local authorities, but we remain committed to making sure that people who rely on the bus can keep vital local connections.”

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