Stagecoach slammed over Number 3 bus link

October 23, 2010 11:48 AM

Your North Heaton Lib Dem Councillors have protested strongly to Stagecoach and Nexus after the bus company decided to withdraw the number 3 bus service over the winter. The service was cut back to peak hours only a few years ago and GREG has been leading a campaign to restore the service, which runs between Gosforth, the Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Cochrane Park, Benfield Road, and Walker to Wallsend. The service is locally important as it is the only north-south service for the area and is used by many people to get to and from work or hospital appointments at the Freeman and Walkergate hospitals.

GREG has successfully lobbied Nexus to restore the route as part of a revised citywide network and plans are in place to operate an hourly service from next March. However, this good news has been marred by Stagecoach's decision to stop operating the service from the start of September. They have claimed it is due to lack of demand but we strongly disagree - lots of local residents have contacted us to let us know how important this link is.

GREG says "After a lot of hard work, we managed to get a commitment from Nexus to restore a full hourly service from next spring, but Stagecoach have given our area a massive kick in the teeth by single-handedly deciding to scrap the route from September. The buses should be back as part of the new network introduced next year, but this callous decision looks set to leave hospital staff, patients, workers, and school students in the lurch over the winter. We will continue to press Nexus to find another operator as a stop-gap measure as well as communicating local dissatisfaction to Stagecoach. If you are affected please let us know, as we are passing on numerous complaints to Stagecoach's regional management."

Meanwhile we have also been lobbying the new Government's Lib Dem minister for public transport to introduce a fairer funding deal for concessionary fareholders such as pensioners. The old system introduced by Labour was based on population, not journeys made, under-funding Tyneside which has a higher passenger total than the national average. We are pleased that the concessionary fare scheme for older people maintained by the Government, but believe that a fairer formula is needed to recognise the particular needs of the North East.