Keeping Tyne and Wear and the North East moving
07 April 2020
As you might expect after a number of weeks of isolation for most of us, passenger numbers are down significantly on all forms of transport. Operators have been doing their utmost to respond to customers’ needs during this time – increasing cleaning on vehicles, requesting contactless payments where possible and advising customers how to social distance on services.
The dramatic drop in numbers travelling in the North East has meant that all public transport providers are now running reduced emergency services including train, metro, bus, coach and ferry. Regular updates on timetable changes are being made available, but the advice is to check before you travel.
Bus operators in the North East are asking customers who are key workers to let them know of any gaps in services, which can be amended to ensure they can get to work. And operators in partnership with Nexus have lifted restrictions on concessionary passes, which can now be used at any time. Bus operators have also announced they will be accepting each other’s tickets to make travel easier.
All Transport providers are posting updated journey information through the Nexus (Transport for Tyne and Wear) website plus their own websites and social media channels. Travel info is also being posted on partner sites such as the Newcastle/Gateshead initiative.
The three major bus operators are also asking key workers to contact them regarding timetable, getting to work and then responding as best they can to demand. Operators are making good reference to ticket refunds, but it’s still patchy. Currently Stagecoach North East has the clearest information regarding refunds. https://www.stagecoachbus.com/coronavirus
Mainline train operators are offering a refund on tickets as are metro, but only for monthly and season ticket holders. With regards to bus travel, the advice is to contact your local operator so they can consider a refund. Bus Users and Transport Focus are calling on operators to make it as easy as possible for passengers to seek refunds on any journey they are unable to make due to the coronavirus. Please bear in mind that all customer-facing departments are experiencing staff shortages at the moment so response times may be slower than usual.
A huge amount of effort is being made across the region to ensure essential key workers can still travel when they need to.
Guest blog from Dawn Badminton-Capps, Director, Bus Users England