A FREE bus service will operate from next week after the closure of the Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels.
The Grade-II listed transport link, between Jarrow and Howdon, will close on Monday for 13 months.
This is to allow for major refurbishment by Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA).
During the closure, a free, timetabled bus service for pedestrians and cyclists will operate between the tunnel entrances from 6am to 8pm, seven days a week.
The bus will be able to carry 24 passengers and 16 bikes and will run every half-hour.
Pick-up and drop-off points will be located at Tyne Street, Jarrow, and Tyne View Terrace, Howdon.
But due to restrictions imposed on the vehicle, the use of wheelchairs on the bus cannot easily be accommodated, while space for pushchairs, scooters, children’s tricycles and bike trailers is also very limited, meaning bulky items may be difficult to transport.
Anyone with problems should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07821 537 106.
A night bus service will also be provided by tunnel operators TT2, for night-shift workers who pre-register.
TWITA project director Paul Fenwick said: “By providing a free, timetabled bus service across the river, we hope to maintain the loyalty of the pedestrians and cyclists who are using the tunnels in increasing numbers.
“The transport authority wants to encourage more cycling and walking through the tunnels once they reopen, so it is important to maintain the pedestrian and cyclist link across the river, while the tunnels are closed for refurbishment.
“It was also important to ensure that shift workers who use the tunnels to get to and from work are not disadvantaged by the closure.”
The tunnels’ revamp and bus service is being funded by the Tyne Tunnels’ revenue account, so there is no financial burden on council taxpayers.