Hundreds call for better bus services for Hebburn housing estate

Go North East is under fire in Hebburn
Go North East is under fire in Hebburn

Residents living on a Hebburn estate say they are feeling ‘isolated” and ‘cut off’ from the rest of the borough by the lack of bus services.

More than 450 people have signed a petition calling for action to improve public transport on the Lukes Lane Estate.

Coun John McCabe

Coun John McCabe

Currently the area is served by the Number 9 bus - run by Go North East = which travels to Hebburn and Jarrow town centres before heading to Murton.

Between 10am and 2pm, there is also an hourly H1 service to South Tyneside Hospital but neither services include South Shields town centre.

The petition was handed in during a meeting of Hebburn Community Area Forum, where dozens of people turned out to raise their concerns.

One woman claimed she had cancelled a hospital appointment as there wasn’t a service able to take her.

She said: “I asked at the hospital for an earlier appointment but the appointment they sent me would mean travelling to Jarrow to get to the hospital. Something needs to be done about the buses.”

The petition was accepted at the council and will be taken to full council where it will be considered further.

Meanwhile, councillors are hoping to arrange a meeting with Nexus and Go North East to see what can be done to improve bus services.

Coun John McCabe said: “The area of Lukes Lane is very isolated, to access any kind of decent bus service you have to cross over the bridge which is a good mile and a quarter depending on where on the estate you live.

“The council have no statutory control over the bus services but we will seek to have a meeting with Nexus and the bus companies to see how we can move this forward.

“The area is not served very well and it’s creating a social isolation, not just for the young or older residents but also vulnerable residents living on the estate, and they feel cut off. It’s not right. It’s not right at all.”

Stephen King, commercial director at Go North East said “Lukes Lane has a bus every 20 minutes which serves the key local centres of Hebburn and Jarrow where connections can be made to buses and Metro to South Shields and Newcastle.

“Their bus also offers direct links to the shopping and leisure facilities of Sunderland, Boldon and Dalton Park. The H1 service was introduced to maintain a connection to South Tyneside Hospital - which is still accessible at all times via a change at Jarrow - in response to feedback from our service change proposals last year.

The service is operated on a fully commercial basis without subsidy from Nexus but, based on feedback from residents since the change, we are in discussions with Nexus to see if there are any funding opportunities to extend this service.”

A Nexus spokesman said: “The H1 and the 9 are bus routes operated by a commercial company, Go North East, which decides the routes, timetables and fares. Nexus does not decide what happens with these routes, or most others in Tyne and Wear, it is up to the bus company. Nexus do provide a small number of bus services, mostly during evenings and on Sundays, because commercial companies don’t want to operate when there are few passengers.

“Nexus has no plans to cut any of the bus services we provide anywhere in Tyne and Wear. If we did have plans we would publish them clearly and consult with users before we made any final decisions.”