Evening services on the Shields Ferry are to resume from Monday 7 March.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the cross-Tyne service, said that it was in the process of training new recruits to plug a gap in its roster – and it will restore a full timetable well ahead of the busy spring and summer seasons.
All new crew must undergo rigorous training and testing with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in order to get a licence to drive the ferry.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “I’m grateful to customers for bearing with us and I am pleased to say we are looking to get our full timetable back in operation from March 7.
“We withdrew these services initially to protect resources from the spread of the more contagious omicron variant of Covid-19.
“We then faced an issue of crew availability. It takes time train a new ferry driver as they must undertake a rigorous course in order to get the boat master licence.
“We are well on the way to training our new recruits and this will allow us to have the full timetable back ahead of the busy spring and summer seasons.
“Reducing services was the last thing that we wanted to do but it has been necessary while we restore full crew availability and a full roster.”
For the time being, the Shields Ferry timetable will continue with the first crossing of the day will still be at 6.45am, Monday to Saturday. The last crossings will be at 5.45pm, from South Shields, and 6pm from North Shields.
The ferry timetable on Sundays is not changing and services will continue to end at 6pm.