24 November 2017

What are we consulting about?

This consultation is about service 643 in Gateshead.

Why are we considering changes to this service?

We have been contacted by several residents in the Sunniside area requesting a direct link between the eastern side of Sunniside and Whickham Front Street/Metrocentre. 

Buses on the existing route are having difficulty in making their way through Orchard Road (the section between Duckpool Lane and Coniston Avenue) due to the narrow road and increased level of on-street car parking.

The reliability of the service has reduced in recent months due to increased traffic/congestion in the Metrocentre area. 

What changes are we proposing?

We plan to introduce a new route/timetable for this service with the following key changes:

The route would be extended to serve a one-way (anti-clockwise) loop of Sunniside

The route in Whickham would be amended so that the service would now operate direct between Front Street and Orchard Road via Duckpool Lane (no longer serving Coniston Avenue/Orchard Road)

The frequency of service would be reduced to hourly (currently this service operates every 30 minutes)

How will passengers be affected by these changes?

The desired direct link between the eastern side of Sunniside and Whickham Front Street/Metrocentre will be restored with an hourly service on Monday to Saturday daytimes.

Passengers on the existing route between Metrocentre and Watergate Estate/Whickham Front Street would see a reduction in frequency from every 30 minutes to hourly.

Buses would no longer run along Orchard Road (east), Coniston Avenue and a short section of Front Street/Whickham Highway.

The shorter route would help to deliver improved reliability

A map showing the proposed new 643 route and an indicative new timetable are attached below.

Your views     

We ran a public consultation on planned changes to the 643 from 27 November 2017 to 04 January 2018.  We received 1 e-mail from a local ward Councillor in Sunniside and 11 e-mails, 4 phone calls and 1 letter from members of the public.

In summary:

  - Residents in Sunniside were supportive of the proposal

  - Residents in The Lakes Estate (Whickham) were opposed to the revised route through their estate (requesting retention of the route through Coniston Avenue/Orchard Road as opposed to the proposed route via Duckpool Lane)

  - Residents on Lambton Avenue and in the Lakes Estate were opposed to the planned frequency reduction

  - Residents on Lambton Avenue and in the Lakes Estate were opposed to the planned later start time - with a preference to travel to Whickham Front Street before 10am

  - Some residents on Lambton Avenue and in the Lakes Estate were supportive of the extension to/from Sunniside - considering that it would help make the service more sustainable longer term

Next steps

In light of the feedback received we have decided to introduce a new route/timetable for the 643 with effect from Monday 19 March 2018.

Key features of the proposed new timetable include:

 - Frequency of service reduced to hourly and route extended to/from Sunniside

 - Planned route revised following consultation

  - Existing route retained in the Lakes Estate

  - In the Sunniside area to remove duplication with the GNE service 6

 - Proposed timetable revised following consultation

  - Provision of 0930 trip from Lambton Avenue to Whickham Front Street will continue

  - Revised times throughout the day to offer improved co-ordination with GNE service 6 over common sections

For the new 643 timetable/route effective from 19 March 2018 please click on the link below.  Passengers should also be aware that revised fares will be introduced on the 643 with effect from the same date – this being part of a wider regional fares review on Nexus funded bus services.

We would like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation for taking the time to provide us with their views.


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