BUS companies are being encouraged to attend a series of workshops being held by Nexus with the aim of hammering out a deal to improve services.
The workshops will explore how operators, Nexus and the local authorities can work in partnership to deliver improvements.
This would include investment in Tyne and Wear’s bus fleet, improving reliability and journey times, ‘smart’ ticketing, a new customer charter for users and better value fares.
Kevin Carr, chairman of the North East Bus Operators’ Association (NEBOA), said: “These workshops should provide an opportunity for Nexus, local councils and all the key players in public transport to fully engage with bus operators and participate in the process of developing a partnership agreement.
“I firmly believe that we are making some very real progress towards a partnership that delivers the ITA’s bus strategy in an affordable and effective way.
“It’s great news for passengers.”
NEBOA’s partnership offer already includes fare deals for 16 to 18-year-olds, a new ‘Bus2Bus’ ticket and proposals that will produce savings for local authorities.
Now the operators are keen to find ways that the proposal can be further developed.
The proposal would establish partnership boards in each area of Tyne and Wear.
Mr Carr added: “We already operate two successful partnerships, in East Gateshead and South Tyneside, which have provided us with considerable experience of using the partnership approach.
“A county-wide partnership would reap benefits for local councils and, most importantly, our passengers.”