Call for re-think over bus route alteration

Thomasina Massey, front, and other Stobhill residents, as well as Coun Ian Lindley, back centre, are aiming to get a key bus route reinstated. Picture by Jane Coltman
Thomasina Massey, front, and other Stobhill residents, as well as Coun Ian Lindley, back centre, are aiming to get a key bus route reinstated. Picture by Jane Coltman

Residents have reacted with anger following a bus route change in an area of Morpeth.

But the county councillor for the area is confident that Arriva North East will reverse its decision to no longer serve an estate in Stobhill with a bus that goes to Cramlington after meetings with the company this week.

The 57a was replaced by service 43 between Morpeth and Cramlington on September 6. It also goes to parts of north Newcastle and its final stop – and first for the way back – is at Haymarket Bus Station in the city.

The previous bus used to collect people living in First to Eleventh Avenue and other streets at various stops near their homes.

One of the residents affected is pensioner Thomasina Massey, who does not agree with Arriva’s statement that the service no longer turns off onto Shields Road and instead stays on the A192 because is not used by enough people in Stobhill.

She added: “This decision means that the people on the estate who use the bus are having to walk much further, either towards the railway station or the roundabout with Stobhill Manor.

“It will be even further on the way back as they will have to cross the road.

“Elderly and disabled users will face difficulties, particularly when the weather is bad. They will have to get a bus into Morpeth and then get the 43 from the bus station on some occasions.

“People here use this service to visit friends and family in Cramlington or to go to work or shopping there and it is even more important now that the new specialist emergency hospital (located near Cramlington) is open.

“We’re very unhappy about the route change and hopefully once our views are put to Arriva, it will have a re-think.”

Coun Ian Lindley, county councillor for Stobhill, and officers from the authority have met with company officials a few times since this and other route changes came into effect.

He said: “Arriva has listened to what we have said about various services, including the one where the alteration has affected Stobhill residents, and it will now carry out a review, so I’m confident that it will agree to reinstate the estate coverage.”

Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East, said: “Due to low passenger usage, the bus no longer serves Stobhill Estate in order to ensure service punctuality.

“Service 2 continues to serve Stobhill Estate and offers passengers a 20-minute frequency into Morpeth. We appreciate that this new arrangement is less convenient for those passengers from Stobhill who travel to Cramlington and will continue to monitor the changes over the coming months.”