GILLEY LAW COMMUNITY BUS DEMONSTRATION PROJECT
1. The Passenger Transport Authority in Tyne
and Wear asked Nexus to develop a Community Bus initiative; the
St Chads Ward of Sunderland was identified as a suitable area
for a demonstration project.
2. Nexus took the view that while this was a
worthwhile experiment, it doubted if any bus operator would take
it on commercially and therefore saw it as becoming another secured
3. Nexus organised a meeting with local councillors
and the local community association on 13 July 1998 with a view
to identifying local need. The route proposed by Nexus did not
entirely meet the needs of local residents. As a result of the
discussions the proposed route was changed.
4. Nexus accordingly informally approached local
bus operators. The first to show interest was George Bell Travel,
a local small operator, who agreed to operate the service on a
5. Accordingly service 125 operated by George
Bell Travel was registered and commenced service on 28 September
6. On 16 November 1998 Stagecoach Busways introduced
a new service 17, following the same route as the Community Bus
No. 125, but timetabled to operate two minutes ahead of it.
7. The PTA and the Sunderland Transport Advisory
Committee were extremely critical of Stagecoach's actions. The
main concern was that Stagecoach would render Bell's service uncommercial
and they would be obliged to withdraw. Then in due course it was
anticipated that Stagecoach would also withdraw their service
and the community would be back to square one.
8. The outcry resulted in Stagecoach and Bells
getting together to discuss the issue.
9. Stagecoach Busways then cancelled the registration
of service 17 from 1 February 1999. However in its place they
have now introduced the modified service 25, which follows a similar
but slightly modified route operating every 20 minutes compared
to the original half hourly service. There is therefore less of
a clash of timings with the George Bell service.