‘Use it or lose it’ warning over South Shields buses as timetable reviewed

Stagecoach are planning a series of changes to their services in South Shields.
Stagecoach are planning a series of changes to their services in South Shields.

Bus passengers are being warned to ‘use it or lose it’ as a number of services in the borough come under review.

Cleadon Park Councillor Jim Foreman issued the warning after a U-turn by bus firm Stagecoach on the 12/12A route which runs from Watson Avenue/The Lonnen to Mile End Road.

Coun Jim Foreman

Coun Jim Foreman

A plan to reduce the half-hourly service to every hour has been shelved but - like 10 other routes in the borough - it is still subject to review.

Stagecoach North East has confirmed the service will remain as it is with only a “minor timing change.” between Monday and Saturday.

An hourly service will operate on Sundays, however, the evening service will be withdrawn.

A number of changes are to come into effect on June 4 for services operating in the borough.

It goes back to if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. And that doesn’t just go for the number 12 but for all routes.

Coun Jim Foreman

Coun Foreman said: “The number 12 runs in an area which is highly populated with elderly people, and is a necessary service.

“It’s nice to see them listening to what has been said, in relation to the number 12.

“It goes back to ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

“And that doesn’t just go for the number 12 but for all routes.”

The Lonnen bus stop.

The Lonnen bus stop.

He added: “Without the number 12 route, there would be a lot of older people living on The Lonnen who wouldn’t be able to get out and about as they do as now. They rely on the service to help them retain their independence.

The service, has in the past been described as a “lifeline” for those living in the Fellside, Cragside and The Lonnen, with fears a reduction in the service could have left residents, most who are pensioners, stranded.

David Parker, head of commercial, Stagecoach North East, said: “We can confirm from June 4, Service 12 will remain as a half-hourly service during Monday to Saturday day times, with only minor timing changes during the day.

“The Service 12 Sunday daytime timetable will become hourly, and the commercially operated journeys which run through the evening will be withdrawn.

“Regrettably, these changes are necessary due to low customer demand and high operational costs but we will continue to periodically review the provision of services in this area.”

Other changes include: numbers 3,4,7, and 8 reduced to every 12 minutes, Monday to Saturday; the X20 and 30 reduced to once an hour, Monday to Saturday.

The E1, E2 and E6 will remain unchanged, however, they will instead terminate in John Street and Fawcett Street instead of Park Lane, Sunderland.