Bus services to hospital set to improve

Bus links to North Tyneside General Hospital are set to improve after Nexus announced a change in bus services

A new 359 services will connect neighbourhoods including West Allotment and the Marden Estate in Cullercoats with North Tyneside General Hospital.

Residents in both areas had asked for the changes after commercial bus companies withdrew a number of services that served the Rake Lane hospital in recent years. A public consultation supported the idea and the new route will start from the end of March.

Tobyn Hughes, Deputy Director General of Nexus said: “West Allotment and the Marden Estate have been left without direct buses to North Tyneside Hospital as a result of recent route changes by commercial bus companies.

“Like all public bodies our budgets are under great pressure, but we were able to consult with local people on what could be achieved within the funding we have available now and restore these important local links.”

“This change is being made looking at the whole pattern of bus services in North Tyneside to make sure we meet local needs as far as we can.”

The change means that, from 24 March the new 359 will operate along most of the route of the existing 59 service but go through West Allotment instead of Shiremoor and to the Marden Estate instead of Whitley Bay.

Cllr Frank Lott, Vice Chair of the Integrated Transport Authority added: “This is excellent news and something I have been requesting for quite some time on behalf of residents. In this case the withdrawal of the route had cut off a key link to the local hospital.

“This was not acceptable as people in North Tyneside, especially older residents, are dependent on good, accessible public transport to help them get to essential services such as the hospital.”

Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn added: “I’m absolutely delighted that Nexus have listened to the views of local people and have reinstated this service which is so often a lifeline to people visiting their family and friends or going for appointments at Rake Lane hospital.”

The 59 will continue to run its existing route before 9:30 and after 5pm, when people use it for work, but not at other times.

Nexus has checked there are alternative buses in neighbourhoods the 59 will no longer serve.

Most passengers will be able to access the alternative service 54 for journeys between Backworth, Shiremoor and Whitley Bay.

Full details of new timetables will be available at nexus.org.uk from March, and from North Shields Travelshop.

Leaflets promoting the new route are being posted out to homes along the route as well as local shops and health facilities.