Bus services to hospital and Newcastle axed

South Tyneside Hospital
South Tyneside Hospital

A TAXI-bus service taking passengers to South Tyneside District Hospital is to be axed.

A further service, linking Hebburn and Newcastle, is also being scrapped because it is under-used.

We have decided to withdraw it from the end of the month because the cost of providing each passenger journey is much higher than other services we provide.

The TB504 makes four journeys a night each way between South Shields town centre and Horsley Hill via Commercial Road, Boldon Lane and the town’s district hospital in Harton Lane.

The service was launched in April 2010 to provide new community links using a large taxi rather than a bus because demand was always expected to be low.

Its withdrawal comes just months after Helen Matthews, head of business development at Nexus, warned that the future of the service was under review.

Also at the end of the road is the 27X service between Hebburn and Newcastle, because its passenger figures are “far too low”.

Mike Scott, corporate manager for bus services at Nexus, said: “The TB504 taxi-bus provides hourly evening journeys for a small number of people in South Shields, but we have decided to withdraw it from the end of the month because the cost of providing each passenger journey is much higher than other services we provide.

“Only a handful of people use the TB504. We’ve had a community officer travel on the taxi to speak to them in person.

“The 27X service between Hebburn and Newcastle was set up for a trial period by Go North East and Nexus two years ago at the request of local councillors and residents.

“We and Go North East extended the trial period from six months to two years to give it time to grow, but despite local marketing, passenger numbers have remained far too low for this service to continue, so we’ve agreed to bring the trial to an end.

“There are alternative bus and Metro services all along the route, and Nexus staff will be on the bus to hand out information about this.

“Nexus, as a public body funded by local councils, regularly reviews the bus services it pays for to meet social needs in order to ensure we make the best use of a limited budget.

“Tyne and Wear is one of the only parts of the country not to have seen widespread cuts to bus services, but hard decisions have to be made when there are only a very small number of people using a route, as in the case of the TB 504.”

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