Council Agree Compromise Over Key Bus Services To Be Retained After Eleventh Hour Talks

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 28th June 2023

Five local councils, along with the Tees Valley Mayor, have agreed a compromise with bus operators to protect some key services, including Arriva’s number 12 service in Hurworth, after many facing the axe from the bus operator, it was today (28 June) announced.

Arriva was set to scrap more than a dozen of its bus services across the Tees Valley from 9 July, after it rejected the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s financial settlement offer under the English National Concessionary Fares Scheme.

The settlement, which was accepted by regional operators Stagecoach and Go North East, ensures operators are no worse off for accepting concessionary bus passengers. It is funded by the five Tees Valley councils, with the taxpayer ultimately footing the bill.

Now the five Council Leaders, the Tees Valley Mayor and transport heads, have stepped in at the 11th hour to support 10 routes – with work continuing to find a solution to keep a further three services running.

A total of £425,000 from the £1.5million Bus Service Improvement Plan+ fund allocated for 2023/4 will be used to help services continue. This Government funding was made available following the initial settlement talks.

Agreements have been reached on the following routes:

  • Service 12 – Darlington
  • Service 4 (Sunday and Evenings) – Darlington
  • Service X3/X3A/3 (Sunday) – Middlesbrough & Redcar and Cleveland
  • Service D3/3A (Monday to Saturday) – Darlington
  • Service 17/17A/X17 – Middlesbrough and Stockton
  • Service 12 & 17 combined (exploring new future service)

Officials are continuing talks with Arriva on supporting the Number 29 Service, in Middlesbrough, and addressing a road issue to ensure the 28 and 28A, in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, both retain coverage to Nunthorpe Village.

Mayor Houchen said: “Cutting services was a commercial decision by Arriva after we gave them a fair and equitable offer based on Government guidelines and previous calculations.

“This decision was entirely out of our hands – and it was an incredibly disappointing one given all the support they’ve received in the past.

“But we’ve listened to local people’s concerns and know how important these vital services are, so have worked extremely hard behind the scenes to find a way forward. The solution has come with new Government funding, which we’re part-using to bolster these routes.

“I’m pleased the number 12 will keep running given its importance to Hurworth, and the number 17 will continue to ferry pupils to school in Eaglescliffe and Ingleby before the summer break.

“We’re also protecting the number 29 in Middlesbrough and fighting to do whatever we can to support other services.

“It’s taken us time to get there, but we’re heading in the right direction to make sure our local people can get around reliably and easily.”

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