Vital bus service running again in Berwick
A new evening bus service is up and running again in Berwick after Northumberland County Council responded to local concerns about the route being scrapped.
Although a number of services operate between the town centre and the areas west of the River Tweed, the sole operator took the decision in November that a reduced evening service would be introduced - but it would terminate short of Highcliffe and Spittal, as they considered there were not enough passengers using the service at this time to make it commercially viable for them to continue its operation.
The moved sparked concerns from residents and local councillors and a petition of almost 600 signatures was received by the council calling for the evening services to be be brought back.
Despite meetings with the operator to try and reinstate them, it became clear it would not be reintroduced and the council agreed to invite tenders for a four-month pilot scheme to see if there was support for an alternative taxi-bus service to replace the withdrawn services.
Now a new taxi-bus service, operated by local company Woody’s Taxis, will run six days a week between 6pm and 10pm - operating between the town centre and Highcliffe and Spittal. The service started on Monday, January 29th.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We know how vital these local bus services can be to our communities and we want to work with them and local transport operators to try and find a sustainable solution.
“I’m delighted the tender has gone to a well-known local company and we’ll be working with them to promote and encourage use of the service over the next 4 months.
“It’s important that during the pilot scheme period local residents use the service so that after this time there is sufficient demand for the service to continue operating on a commercial basis without any funding or support from the county council.”
Berwick East Councillor Georgina Hill, who campaigned for the service to be reintroduced, said: “I am grateful to Glen Sanderson, and his team, for listening to residents’ concerns and responding positively to the petition. I encourage people to use this service in order that it can be retained.”