Bus passengers are being left stranded on two South Tyneside estates because inconsiderate parking is forcing a transport operator to divert services.
The problems centre on the narrow roads of the Scotch Estate in Jarrow and neighbouring Brockley Whins in South Shields.
Stagecoach’s no18 service has been unable to use three streets in Brockley Whins on nine occasions since May.
Buses have been forced to continue straight up to Inverness Road and Perth Avenue, on the Scotch estate – missing out Brisbane Avenue, Melbourne Gardens and Australia Grove completely.
In the latest incident – last Friday afternoon – a driver was unable to get past a parked builders’ lorry in Brisbane Avenue where work is being done on a number of houses.
That meant that, over the course of an hour, six buses, which travel on to South Shields town centre, had to be diverted along Perth Avenue, missing out all stops – and passengers – in between.
I know it’s not easy for motorists parking up either because the roads are so narrow, but we’re appealing to them to try to be more considerate and take care with their parking to allow buses pastCouncillors Fay Cunnigham
Transport chiefs say the issue at Brockley Whins has been exacerbated by Metro passengers who park up before catching trains at the nearby Metro station.
Robin Knight, commercial director with Stagecoach North East, said: “We have had nine instances since the beginning of May with the worst delay in services being over ten hours.
“We are committed to this service. We know how important it is to the residents as a key link to the town centre. Without it, people will shop elsewhere.
“I must stress that from our side the service is in no way under threat. We simply cannot provide it when the roads are blocked.”
Coun Fay Cunnigham, who represents Jarrow’s Bede ward, called on motorists to be “more considerate”.
She said: “The roads are just too narrow for there to be too many parked cars.
“When the streets were built, households didn’t have two or three cars, as they do now.
“We have problems as a result, with buses trying to navigate around the streets, but there have been particular problem in recent weeks with Stagecoach having to pull services simply because the drivers have been unable to get past parked cars, lorries, skips and scaffolding.
“The bus drivers are doing their best, but there are times when they simply can’t get past. Passengers, particularly elderly people who don’t have cars, are missing out.”
Coun Cunningham and her fellow Bede ward Labour councillor Margaret Peacock were out on the about on the estates this week distributing letters appealing for motorists to “be more considerate”.
She added: “I know it’s not easy for motorists parking up either because the roads are so narrow, but we’re appealing to them to try to be more considerate and take care with their parking to allow buses past.”