Planned cancellation of services 520 and 521

15 February 2023

What are we consulting about?

We are seeking customer feedback on our proposal to cancel services 520 and 521.

Why are we considering changes to services?

In July 2022 Nexus carried out a widespread review of local bus services in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland at a time when commercial companies were making cuts to their own routes.  As part of this rescue package we introduced or kept on several routes, including this one, with marginal customer numbers.  This allowed us to continue to review the route to see if passenger numbers would grow over time.  Contracts for bus services that we currently fund in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland are due to end in May 2023 and we have now looked in detail at how the current contracts are performing.  This review has highlighted some services which we consider are no longer offering good value for money due mainly to a long-term change in travel patterns following the pandemic.  Cancelling these poorly performing services would allow the limited amount of funding that we have available to be spent on maintaining or improving services in areas that are less able to access alternative bus services.

What changes are we proposing?

We are proposing to cancel secured services 520 and 521 after 13th May 2023. These services currently operate hourly (0930 - 1711) Monday – Saturday daytime between Houghton Health Centre, Houghton Town Centre, Dairy Lane Estate and Fencehouses. During September 2022 an average of under 4 customers travelled on each trip on service 520 and an average of under 3 customers travelled on each trip on service 521. These numbers reduce further to 2 customers on each after 1245.

How would customers be affected by our proposed changes?

Those travelling on this service currently would require an alternative service as follows in the table below dependent upon boarding/alighting location:



Houghton Health Centre

Walk to Brinkburn Crescent (230m) for Go North East service 35 or secured services 71/79.

Burnside Avenue / Sherburn Grove / Woodburn Drive (521)

Walk to Brinkburn Crescent (350m) for Go North East service 35 or secured services 71/79.

Dunhelm Drive

Walk to Dairy Lane (600m) for Go North East services 4/20A.

Britannia Terrace / Durham Street

Walk to Front Street (260m) for Go North East services 4/71.

Avenue Vivian

Walk to Sedgeletch Road (400m) for secured service 71 or Station Avenue North (550m) for Go North East service 4.

Some customers may qualify for membership of the TaxiCard scheme. Eligibility details can be found on the website or by contacting customer relations as per below.

Your views?

This consultation was open from Wednesday 15 February – Wednesday 8 March 2023. All feedback received on or before Wednesday 8 March 2023 was taken into consideration.

During this consultation we received 8 responses from customers. These were all strongly opposed to the cancellation of this local service. 

We recognise the link this local service offers customers along unique sections of Houghton-le-Spring, Dairy Lane Estate and Fencehouses, and after listening to feedback we have decided not to progress with our planned changes to cancel service 520. We will however proceed to cancel service 521, and as alternative, increase the frequency on service 520 to improve the number of trips operating between Houghton-le-Spring Health Centre and Fencehouses. 

The new timetable will be effective from Sunday 14 May 2023. 

Following contract changes, this service will be operated by a different operator.

We appreciate that where services are withdrawn or change a small number of people may have difficulty accessing alternative transport – if you are concerned you will not be able to make a journey contact us at [email protected] or on 0191 2020 747 so we may offer advice and support.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide us with their views.

© 2024 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.