South Shields MP hits out after block is put on bus revamp plan

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South Tyneside’s MP has hit out after the brakes were applied to plans for a major bus services shake-up for the borough.

A bid by the North East Combined Authority (NECA) – made up of the region’s seven local authorities including South Tyneside Council – and Metro operators Nexus to launch a London-style Quality Contract Scheme is facing the end of the line after being rejected by a scrutiny panel.

Emma Lewell-Buck

Emma Lewell-Buck

The Quality Contract Scheme board refused to give the plan the green light because of a lack of compensation for bus firms – up to £226million would need to be set aside – and added that NECA could not demonstrate that it would increase use of bus services.

The plan would have seen transport companies bidding for contracts to operate routes and NECA and Nexus are now considering whether to press ahead with a revised scheme.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck says the transport revamp would have led to lower fares and better services for commuters.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “This is a very disappointing decision. The Quality Contract Scheme would have delivered lower fares and better services for people in Shields and across our region.

“This is a very disappointing decision.”

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

“Passengers should always come first, so there is no excuse for the QCS board blocking a scheme that they accept would be better for the people who use our bus network.”