What are we consulting about?
We are seeking customer feedback on our proposal to cancel service R1.
Why are we considering changes to services?
In July 2022 Nexus carried out a widespread review of local bus services in west Gateshead at a time when commercial companies were making cuts to their own routes. As part of this rescue package, we introduced or kept on a number of 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 west Gateshead are due to end in July 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 service R1 with effect from 22 July 2023.
Service R1 currently operates hourly Monday – Saturday daytime (0930 – 1530). The route serves Blaydon Bus Station – Crookhill – Ryton Village – Woodside – Crawcrook – Kepier Chare – Clara Vale. During September/October 2022 an average of 2 customer per trip travelled on this service.
How would customers be affected by our proposed changes?
Most sections of this route are covered by alternative frequent bus services. The nearest alternative facilities from the unique sections of route are summarised in the table below. Some customers may be required to walk longer distances to access alternative services.
Unique sections of route
Ryton (Holburn Lane)
Walk to B6317 (400m) to access frequent services 10/10a/10b. These routes serve Crawcrook, Ryton, Blaydon, Metrocentre and Newcastle.
Alternatively, walk to Ryton Village (400m) to access services R3/R4. These routes serve Clara Vale, Crawcrook, Crookhill and Blaydon.
Ryton (Woodside Lane)
New R2 service will be introduced from Monday 24 July. This new service will operate up to every 30 minutes Monday – Saturday daytime and provide direct links to/from Ryton Co-Op, Stargate and Blaydon Bus Station.
Crawcrook (Kepier Chare)
Walk to Crawcrook Main Street (600m) to access frequent services 10/10a/10b. These routes serve Ryton, Blaydon, Metrocentre and Newcastle. Alternatively, services R3/R4 serve Clara Vale, Ryton, Crookhill and Blaydon from the same stops on Main Street.
This consultation was open from Monday 17 April – Friday 19 May 2023. All feedback received on or before 19 May 2023 was taken into consideration.
During the consultation we received 7 responses opposed and 1 response in support of our plans to cancel service R1. Several of those opposed highlighted the poor reliability of the service, with some suggesting that improved reliability would help to increase patronage. We accept that the reliability of this service has often fallen short of the standards that we expect and in recent weeks we have taken action to address this. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. However, the patronage data used to inform our analysis was taken from a period before the reliability issues started and despite a small level of opposition to our plans, the number of customers using this service is still not at a level that would justify continued operation.
We have therefore decided to progress our planned changes. Service R1 will be cancelled after the last day of operation on Saturday 22 July 2023.
Please note that Go North East's service R2 replaces a significant part of the R1 route from 24 July 2023. The R2's timetable is here.
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.