Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX C

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 bus service.

  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 commercial basis.

  5. Accordingly service 125 operated by George Bell Travel was registered and commenced service on 28 September 1998.

  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.


 
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