Leaders of the North East Combined Authority (NECA) will decide on the future of our Tyne and Wear bus services at their meeting on January 19.
For five years Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users’ Group (TWPTUG) has campaigned, with public support, in agreement with our councillors, to introduce a Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) for our buses. This would be similar to the franchising arrangements with the bus companies in London.
The buses in Tyne and Wear cost £140m to run, with support/subsidies of £62m from all of us (via taxation), and about £20m profit going to the bus operators.
Quality contracts would bring down the profits in order to maintain the present services, reduce the fares of 80 per cent of journeys, and introduce one ticket (one fare) for an overall journey, including all buses, ferry and Metro, as well as annual fixed routes, timetables and fares.
Now our council leaders who represent us have to decide whether to abandon their plans in light of the government-appointed traffic commissioners, or disagree with that advice. That advice, in brief, says that the public good of QCS for buses is outweighed by the need of the private bus operators to make profits.
What do you think?
For public transport users we have a meeting of the North Tyneside TWPTUG, today, Thursday, January 14, from 4.45pm to 6.45pm, at Whitley Bay library.
Chairman of TWPTUG and Secretary of North Tyneside