Bus passengers being warned to ‘use or lose’ services in South Tyneside has sparked a debate among Gazette readers.
Cleadon Park Councillor Jim Foreman issued the warning after a U-turn by bus firm Stagecoach on the 12/12A route which runs from Watson Avenue/The Lonnen to Mile End Road.
A plan to reduce the half-hourly service to every hour has been shelved but - like 10 other routes in the borough - it is still subject to review by Stagecoach North East.
A range of minor timetable changes will come into effect on June 4.
Coun Forman said: “It goes back to ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. And that goes for all routes.”
Other changes include: numbers 3,4,7, and 8 reduced to every 12 minutes, Monday to Saturday; the X20 and 30 reduced to once an hour, Monday to Saturday. The E1, E2 and E6 will remain unchanged, however, they will instead terminate in John Street and Fawcett Street instead of Park Lane, Sunderland.
The issue promted a range of views on social media with readers taking to our Facebook page to air their views.
Anthony Fenwick wrote: “It’s about time they started reducing services. It’s ridiculous the amount of times I see a nearly empty bus go by.
“The only downside is that I bet the costs they’re going to be saving won’t be passed on to the customers with reduced ticket prices.”
Chris Bull said: “I was speaking to a stagecoach employee who said the Shields to Boldon route actually costs stagecoach around £30k a year to keep running. They make no profit on it, actually costs them.”
Keith Yage added: “Don’t blame the driver if the bus is late, blame the ever increasing sets of traffic lights. The Nook is a bottleneck at peak times.”
Corinna Thorburn wrote: “Can’t understand why E1, E2 and E6 are no longer going to interchange.
“It’s a well used stop.”
Karl William Bullock added: “You mean to say people are not rushing to use unreliable, over-priced, filthy buses.
“Who would have thought!”
Rob Paris Fair spoke up on behalf of bus firms.
He wrote: “Why should they run an unprofitable route .
“They are there to make money, not run a passenger free service.”
David Parker, head of commercial, Stagecoach North East, said: “Regrettably, these changes are necessary due to low customer demand and high operational costs but we will continue to periodically review the provision of services in this area.”