Two new community bus routes in South Tyneside will give neighbourhoods direct links to local supermarkets.
A new Saturday bus will run from Jarrow’s Hill Park estate to Asda in Boldon at 10am, taking in Duchess Crescent off York Avenue on the way.
A second Saturday bus will run from Brockley Whins to Asda in Boldon at 11am from Dundee Court via Inverness Road and Melbourne Gardens.
Nexus has set up the routes with half the funding coming from South Tyneside Council.
There is a flat fare of £1 each way (including concessionary pass holders) with both routes leaving two hours for shopping before returning.
Both routes will start on Saturday 20 December operated under contract by South Tyneside-based Connect Community Transport.
The buses will call at alternative supermarkets in future depending what passengers request.
They are being provided where there is not existing public transport direct to major shops, with a focus on areas with elderly residents and sheltered accommodation
Around 1,000 passengers a week already enjoy a web of community buses provided by Nexus to fill gaps in the main bus network.
Councillor Tom Hanson, Vice Chair of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority, said: “Nexus and South Tyneside Council have worked together to provide an invaluable service for local residents on routes where they are really needed.
“Good bus services provide a lifeline to many people in our communities and these new services will provide direct access to shopping areas for people who have previously been isolated. I’m sure these new routes will be very popular with local people, especially our elderly residents.”
Councillor Emma Lewell said: “As chair of the Jarrow Community Area Forum it was a pleasure to be able to meet with Bill Cowell from Nexus and arrange these new routes on the Hill Park estate and in the Brockley Whins area. It has taken a lot of effort to have these new routes in place before Christmas and I am delighted they are here and ready to use. The Community Shopper Service ensures that all of our residents who would have previously struggled to access our local supermarkets can now do so with ease so I urge them to jump aboard.”
John Usher, Head of Transport Integration for Nexus, said: “Community shopper buses provide a web of services that supports the main bus network.
“Passengers love to use community bus services because they call close to home and go straight to shops and services. These two routes will make life a lot easier for residents along the route.
In the photograph are: South Tyneside Passenger Transport Authority member Cllr Tom Hanson (foreground), and Nexus Head of Transport Integration John Usher (right front seated), local councillor Cllr Emma Lewell (in red) and Janet Elsy, Connect owner (standing right rear) to launch the new services.