Demands for improved bus links to South Tyneside Hospital have been backed by Gazette readers.
On Saturday, we reported how South Tyneside Public Transport Users Group (STPTUG) is unhappy about the lack of a direct service linking those in Jarrow and Hebburn to the borough’s main hospital, based in Harton Lane, South Shields.
They say the problem was exacerbated by the closure of the Jarrow walk-in centre last September, with services transferred to a new Urgent Care Hub, at South Tyneside District Hospital.
On Friday, the group handed in a petition addressed to the leader of South Tyneside Council, Coun Iain Malcolm, at Jarrow Town Hall with more than 1,000 signatures on it, calling for a better bus service to the hospital.
As well as concerns over the link to the hospital, the group has raised questions over the distance from the bus stops outside the hospital to the main entrance.
Commenting about the story on our Facebook page, Brian P Steele said: “The issue of public transport links to South Tyneside Hospital from the mid-Tyne areas has not been addressed.
“Following the replacement of the 35 with the new 20 service there are now no direct links from South Shields to the Royal Hospital in Sunderland.
“Go Ahead and Nexus need to restore these links – especially with the changes to take place as a result of the new partnership between the South Tyneside and Royal hospitals.”
Heather Ditchburn Curry added: “Totally agree! Also there are bus stops in the hospital grounds, why can’t the buses drive in?”
John Hunter said: “I’ve had to pay for taxis many times, shocking, £10 plus each way.”
Paulette Dingwall posted: “26 was a fantastic bus that ran from Jarrow to South Tyneside Hospital now it’s the 88 that takes you round the world. It will take me forever to get to work once I start working down there.
Commenting on our website, walkerchris wrote: “They knew transport links were a concern and they did nothing. And they won’t do anything now – except to say ‘we can’t tell the bus companies what to do’.”
“Moving mental health services to Palmer’s in Jarrow has had the same effect for patients from South Shields. It’s a shambles. They didn’t make allowances for people with transport problems.”
Coun Allan West, lead member for transport and housing, said: “Although the council has no control over the buses directly, nor do we fund routes, we can work with our partners at Nexus and in turn the bus operators to add our support to the concerns raised by the South Tyneside Public Transport Users Group.”