Most bus routes in Tyne and Wear are operated commercially by private bus companies with no direct financial support from Nexus.
It is the responsibility of Nexus to identify those routes that are not provided commercially or are not provided commercially at certain times of day (normally evenings and Sunday) and where there is a social need.
Nexus will then pay the bus operators to provide the service normally after a tendering process. Nexus currently spend £14.7m per annum supporting local services. This is funded from the levy; additional funding may be available from the bus service improvement plan or other grants.
Nexus contracts are typically awarded for a one-year period to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of customers and offer value for money.
Our current contracts in Newcastle and North Tyneside are due to expire in March 2024 and based on customer feedback we are planning some changes. Before awarding contracts to progress these changes, we would appreciate your views.
Osborne Road was previously served by services 33/33a which was funded by Nexus. Service 33 operated half hourly Monday to Saturday daytime between Hollywood Avenue and Newcastle via Gosforth High Street and Osborne Road. Service 33a operated hourly during evening and on Sunday following the same route as service 33 but extended to Fawdon Mormon Church.
In March 2021, Go North East made the decision to divert service Q3 via Osborne Road. With Osborne Road being served on a commercial basis, Nexus could no longer justify the use of public funds to support services 33 and 33a. These routes were therefore cancelled. A new service X46 was introduced and funded by Nexus to maintain a service for Hollywood Avenue. The evening/Sunday direct link between Fawdon and Newcastle was not replaced as passenger numbers did not warrant a service for this area alone.
In March 2022, Go North East advised their diversion of Q3 was no longer viable for them and they were to divert the service directly on Great North Road. To ensure a service was maintained on Osborne Road, Nexus provided financial support to keep service Q3 on Osborne Road until a full review of provision could be made.
Customer comments and stakeholder feedback.
A key part of all of our contract reviews is taking into consideration comments from customers and other stakeholders. In the context of this review, there were two issues that were regularly raised.
1. Customers using service Q3 to and from Great Park would like to see a more direct service i.e., not via Osborne Road.
2. Residents in Fawdon would like to see an evening and Sunday service restored.
Our plan is to stop providing financial support for service Q3 to divert via Osborne Road. This will result in Go North East operating the route directly via Great North Road.
The money saved from paying for service Q3 would pay for changes to service 35. This will mean service 35 will operate as now between Newcastle (but start from Central Station) and Fawdon but will then extend to run via Gosforth High Street, Osborne Road, city centre and Central Station.
In addition, there will be an hourly service on evening and Sunday, between Newcastle, Pilgrim Street and Fawdon, Mormon Church via Osborne Road, Gosforth High Street, Kenton & Fawdon (note evening/Sunday trips would not serve Central Station, John Street/Welford Avenue, or Red House Farm estate).
The changes will meet the requests of residents in Great Park for a direct link to/from Newcastle but they will lose direct link to Osborne Road.
Residents in Osborne Road will see direct links to Newcastle Central Station Monday to Saturday daytime but there will be a reduction in frequency of buses on Osborne Road.
Residents in Fawdon will be provided with a new hourly evening and Sunday service and direct links to Osborne Road and Newcastle, Central Station on Monday to Saturday daytime.
Before we make a final decision, we would first like to know what you think about our proposal to change the 35 and Q3.
Please email your feedback to: [email protected]
All feedback received before 27 November 2023 will be taken into consideration.