North East Transport prices to rise following lack of government intervention

As March 31st approaches, and Government funding runs out, the affordability of the North East transport service appears increasingly under threat.

Ella Winskell
28th February 2023
Image credits: Unsplash
The North East bus industry is under pressure as the Government Bus Recovery scheme comes to an end on March 31st. Following the 20% cut to their funding, we will expect to see a rise in costs of bus tickets and cuts to rural routes.

Nigel Featham, on behalf of the North East Bus Operators Association has warned that “if the Government decides to axe funding for buses - which is now looking more likely - it will put an end to a huge amount of routes. The North East will be particularly hard hit as it has many rural and semi-rural routes, which are the ones most at risk.”

His warning comes in the face of the Government Bus Recovery Grant coming to its end next month on March 31st; which has incited many leaders from the North East’s transportation sector to speak out about the immense amount of pressure the bus service is already under. Following a year of cuts in 2022, it will only be exacerbated as this key government scheme comes to an end. 

Gateshead Council leader, Martin Gannon, being one of these voices has gone as far to voice his worries that the bus industry in the North East could be plunged into “terminal decline,” if something is not done soon. 

The bus industry in the North East could be plunged into "terminal decline,"

North East Bus services are looking at a 20% slash to their funding as the 31st of March approaches. The severe cutbacks from last year had already crippled a community service disrupted by driver shortages and industrial disputes. 

The threat of higher bus ticket costs and cuts to essential routes to rural areas has lead to louder cries for the future Mayor of the North East to restore transport services back into public ownership. That could be possible under the powers the region is to be granted as part of the £4.2 billion devolution deal for the North East.

The region has proposed modifications to rehabilitate the transportation system, including a £163 million plan funded by the Government and ambitions from leaders to create a more joined up ticketing system. With just one ticket, an individual could hop across services and traverse the county. Whether these ambitions materialise into reality is yet to be proven.

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