Stagecoach boss pledge at South Tyneside community meeting over bus service

Former councillor David Townsley
Former councillor David Townsley

A transport boss has agreed to work with residents from a South Tyneside retirement complex over concerns over bus delays.

The Stagecoach number 30 service currently runs from the Boldon Asda to South Shields through East Boldon every hour.

But residents of the sheltered housing The Grange, in Front Street, East Boldon, claim they face regular delays.

Managing director of Stagecoach North East, Steve Walker, accepted an invitation to the West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum and George Maccoy, representing residents of the ‘Grange’ presented a 21-signature petition over the “poor service”.

He said delays impacted on several disabled residents and claimed some buses in the fleet are 10 to 11 years old.

He said: “Why can’t we have a designated service purely and simply from South Shields to Boldon Asda and back and one we can rely on. Why can’t we have this twice an hour.”

Mr Walker said Stagecoach was working with South Tyneside Council to improve transport links in the borough, with congestion being a major factor.

He said the service is running at a loss and subsidised by others and was maintained to help provide a network.

“To run a reliable service you have to be able to have free flowing traffic, if you don’t you have to be able to slow the bus down and give it more time,” he said.

“As larger operators we understand we have a social responsibility as well that’s why certain services throughout the day or the night run with next to nobody on.”

In recent weeks, changes to the route were were made following a meeting with the late councillor, Coun David Townsley.

Mr Walker, responding, added: “We’re all wanting to work together to provide a sustainable mode of transport.

“That’s my commitment to you guys here and any council area across the North East, I want to work closely with you to try and get the best we can out of the public transport system.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service