After representations by interested residents, volunteers and councillors, a new bus service has started – the 359 – which, among other benefits, is supposed to provide a link between the Marden area and Rake Lane for North Tyneside General Hospital.
I have noted this service started on March 23 and I have tried to establish how the bus would operate, ‘in practice’ (without getting on one).
It turned out that the new timetable displayed at the bus station was in a new format and seemed to have been designed by a computer and not a ‘brain’.
The presentation on the Farringdon Road shelters seemed to be a test used on the elderly who may no longer be able to cope.
Though Farringdon Road is one of the main highways within Marden, the bus stop timetable declared the 259 went between Marden, from Farringdon, in ‘one minute’, but then went nowhere.
On the other ‘up’ side of the road, the 359 is not mentioned, so the bus goes ‘down’ only.
Further research indicates it must find its way to Preston Grange then to North Tyneside General Hospital and on to Backworth, but only at intervals of one hour, up to about 3pm only.
I have to say this service to a hospital for people having to keep specific appointments, or visitors seeing someone in a ward, is rather minimal.
And on Sundays the 359 does not appear at all.
I have made some efforts to have something like the ‘circular’ type of service that once passed through Marden, reaching Monkseaton and Rake Lane, only to find that this 359 does very little for us on the north side of Marden.
I suggest it doesn’t do very much for most other people either, and I shall continue to get to Rake Lane by ‘other means’.
A motto of Nexus was to ‘...link people to place’. I hope the inhabitants of Backworth, West Allotment, etc, find they do get something out of it, but it may be the same as what they had already in that part of the route, not known to me.
I shall resume my efforts.