Thumbs up for new community vehicle

Coun Veronica Jones with the bigger Ponteland hopper bus.
Coun Veronica Jones with the bigger Ponteland hopper bus.

A BIGGER bus for isolated Ponteland residents has been well received by residents.

Dozens of people have used the larger hopper vehicle to go to appointments, shops and community facilities and meet friends since it came into operation last month.

The upgrade was needed because there was high demand for the initial mini-bus service that started in late 2012 following successful funding applications.

The new Ponteland Hopper was purchased by county councillors Peter Jackson and Veronica Jones through the members small grant scheme for capital projects.

Ponteland Community Partnership, Pointnorth, a community interest group, and Ponteland Town Council have also helped to establish and develop the weekly door-to-door service, which is operated by Adapt North East.

Coun Jones said: “It is very pleasing that the scheme has been so successful and we’re delighted that more people can use this valuable vehicle every Friday. We hope it will go from strength to strength.

“I spoke to some of the residents on the new bus when it was launched and a lady going to the hairdressers summed it up well, saying she had become isolated when she could no longer drive her car and the service allows her to be part of the community again.

“It is now based in Ponteland, so it will be available for other projects in the area. The bus is also being used to shuttle soldiers and their families between Albemarle barracks and the railway station in Wylam.”

The service has been extended – it now runs from 9am to 2pm. To book a seat for a particular Friday (a return fare costs £3), call Adapt North East on 01434 600599 by noon on the Thursday.