User group seeks public’s support

On Tuesday, October 21, all seven council leaders within the North East Combined Authority will be voting whether to support a new form of bus regulation, similar to that in London, called Quality Contracts.

For the travelling public this would mean slightly cheaper fares for 80 per cent of people, Nexus would set the fares annually, profits would be limited to eight per cent instead of roughly 22 per cent by Stagecoach at present (they accept nine per cent profit in London), and best of all there would be one zonal fare which passengers could use on any bus, Metro and ferry instead of having to pay separately to each company.

The commons transport select committee said it welcomed plans to introduce Quality Contracts across the region, allowing local authorities to decide where services should run and how often.

If passed the bus companies will then bid for any of the 11 contracts.

At present the bus operators are subsidised out of our taxes to the tune of £62m out of the total cost of £160m a year.

Because of the huge cuts to local authorities by the present government, unless these new contracts are introduced we will see more cuts in bus services, including the loss of school buses and later evening services which are not profitable for the bus companies.

Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group has been campaigning for nearly three years for Quality Contracts in order to work towards an integrated transport system, and hope many people will come and support the lobby prior to the Vote at 1.15pm on Tuesday, October 21, at Newcastle Civic Centre.

Vicki Gilbert

Tyne and Wear

Public Transport Users Group