State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has cautiously welcomed the upcoming changes to Newcastle Buses timetables and routes.
Ms Hornery, who is yet to be fully briefed on the changes, said the changes show a net cut in services for the Wallsend electorate, but the changes to timetables meeting trains and school bell times in the afternoon are welcomed.
Buses meeting trains as they arrive or arriving at the train station before the train departs are part of a raft of changes that Ms Hornery has been calling for since Keolis Downer made significant changes to services in 2017.
Ms Hornery has also called on Newcastle Transport to ensure that timetables are rolled out quickly so residents who rely on catching public transport are able to get them and plan for their trips over the Christmas period.
“I will hold my judgement on the new timetables until I receive a briefing and copies of the new timetables, but on face value, the changes seem to have some benefits,” said Ms Hornery.
“We have seen Keolis Downer talk up increased services in the past, only to be caught out fudging the numbers.
“Cuts to the 11, 23 and 24 services have been made but there are increases to the 12 and 26 services, so while it is a net loss of services, it has some other benefits.
“Buses meeting trains and school finishing times was a no-brainer and has only taken three years to get changed.
“I would encourage anyone who uses public transport to get a copy of the new timetables, as hard as that can be sometimes, and make sure they are aware of the changes.
“Keolis Downer should also make sure that copies of the new timetables are readily available at major hubs like Wallsend, Jesmond, the University and John Hunter Hospital, as well as ensuring timetables at each stop are updated quickly.
“Last time they changed timetables it took a month to update the timetables at all the stops, leaving many commuters confused and stranded.
“I look forward to my briefing and hearing from the community about their thoughts on the changes,” Ms Hornery said.