Planned changes to service 516

15 February 2023

What are we consulting about?

We are seeking customer feedback on our proposal to revise the route and frequency of service 516.

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.  Revising 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?

In aim to improve the frequency and overall punctuality and reliability of the service, we are proposing to revise the route of service 516 when departing South Shields Interchange towards South Tyneside Hospital. This would see the service no longer serving Coronation Street (ASDA), Station Road and Crossgate, instead the routing would be revised to serve Fowler Street and Winchester Street. By introducing this change alongside some minor adjustments to running times, we would be able to increase the frequency of the service from operating every 70 minutes as per current timetable to every 60 minutes on a Monday – Saturday daytime (0930 - 1800). The timetable would move around the clockface and a 90-minute gap would be introduced between 1230 -1400 to maintain punctuality and reliability of the service. We are proposing to cancel the Monday – Friday 0746 and 0856 trips from South Tyneside Hospital towards South Shields. During September 2022 an average of 1 customer travelled on these trips. We are also proposing to cancel the Monday – Friday 0821 trip from South Shields towards South Tyneside Hospital. During September 2022 an average of 1 customer travelled on this trip.

How would customers be affected by our proposed changes?

The first bus on a Monday – Saturday from South Shields (towards South Tyneside Hospital) would depart at 0932, then at 32 minutes past the hour until 1232. A 90-minute gap in service until 1402, then at 02 minutes past the hour until the last trip at 1702.

The first bus on a Monday – Saturday from South Tyneside Hospital (towards South Shields) would depart at 1000, then on the hour until 1300. A 90-minute gap in service until 1430, then at 30 minutes past the hour until the last trip at 1730.

Existing customers travelling would incur timing changes. Customers wishing to travel outside of the new 516 operating hours would be required to use alternative bus services (Stagecoach 7/8/10/11/E1) that may additionally require an interchange.  Some customers may require to walk further distances to these alternative services.

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 5 responses from customers. 1 customer was supportive of our proposed changes, 4 customers were opposed. We recognise that the morning links offered by this service were valued by the customers.  However, the number of customers using the service between 0746 and 0932 is not at a level that would justify their continued operation.

In view of this and the feedback received, we have decided to progress with our planned changes. 

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

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.

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