In January 2020, Stagecoach North East formally notified Nexus that they needed to withdraw some sections of services 18 and 32/32A as the income received for these services was no longer covering their cost.
Nexus knows that these services provide local residents with some important links. We have therefore entered into two new contracts with Stagecoach and provided some additional funding to ensure that these services can continue to run – keeping their current routes and timetables.
Nexus is normally required to consult with users before making changes to services we pay for. On this occasion we needed to take action before seeking the views of external stakeholders, to ensure there was no gap in services provided. We believe we have acted in the best interest of passengers. We would, however, welcome any feedback/comments you have in response to our actions. Any feedback provided will then be taken into account within any future reviews of these services.
A summary of the changes that would have been made if we hadn’t taken action is below:
18: Quorum/Benton Estate – Walker
• Monday – Saturday daytime trips would have been revised to run between Walker and Freeman Hospital only.
• Passengers for BT Call Centre, Longbenton Estate, Four Lane Ends & Benton Estate/ Quorum Business Park would have had to change between services or, for Stoneleigh Avenue (Longbenton) and Hailsham Avenue (Benton) make alternative arrangements.
32/32A: Kenton/Montagu Estate – City Centre – Walker
• Monday – Saturday daytime trips would have been revised to run between Walker and Benwell only.
• Passengers for Fenham, Cowgate, Blakelaw, Kenton/Montagu would have had to change between services or, for Two Ball Lonnen, Kenton Lane, and parts of Montagu Estate, make alternative arrangements.
This consultation ran from 14 February until 27 March 2020. The results have now been evaluated:
Consultation feedback summary
1. In January 2020, Nexus were informed by Stagecoach that some sections of services 18, 32/32A would need to be cancelled as the fare income from passengers was no longer enough to cover the cost of their continued operation.
2. Service 18 operates between Walker - Byker - Freeman Hospital - BT Call Centre - Four Lane Ends - Benton Estate or Quorum. Services 32/32A operate between Walker – City Centre - Benwell - Kenton Bar/Montagu Est.
3. At this point, there was not sufficient time for Nexus to consult with stakeholders before taking any action. Nexus therefore decided to enter into two new contracts with Stagecoach and provided additional funding to ensure that these important bus services continued to operate.
4. Nexus then launched a public consultation to gain feedback and comments from stakeholders about the decision to provide additional funding.
5. During the consultation (running from 14th February 2020 to 27th March 2020) Nexus received 4 emails. The feedback we received was generally supportive of our decision to provide additional funding to keep these services operating. One response provided a suggestion that the 18 and 32/32A should be funded by Nexus, and that low evening patronage was due to Stagecoach tickets not being valid. The response also suggested that Nexus should curtail services 32/32A towards Walker at Benwell as there are plenty of services to Newcastle City Centre, Byker and Walker.
6. Feedback gathered from this process will now be used to inform future reviews of these services.
7. Nexus would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide us with their feedback on our plans during the consultation.
A summary of the feedback received from email responses is attached below.