New bus fare initiatives and improved services are set to benefit young people and adults in County Durham and the wider North East region.
The Enhanced Partnership (EP), a formal agreement between bus operators and local authorities, has been approved by the North East Joint Transport Committee. The EP covers Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, and County Durham.
Young people under 22 will benefit from a new £1 single bus fare on any bus service in the region. Additionally, a daily ticket for under 22s costing £3 will offer unlimited travel on bus, Metro, and Ferry throughout the North East.
Adults will also benefit from new or lower-priced multi-operator daily tickets, including a new affordable adult daily ticket for unlimited travel by bus in County Durham costing £4. A region-wide daily ticket will cost £6.80.
The new fares for under 22s are set to be the first to launch and will be available “shortly”. Timings for the launch of the multi-operator tickets will be confirmed later this Spring, says Transport North East.
The EP is a result of the North East Bus Service Improvement Plan, which secured £118m of funding from the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper in March. The EP will enable multi-million-pound improvements, including new bus services, improved services, additional bus priority measures, updated bus stops and stations, and enhanced support for rural communities. The initiatives are subject to funding by the Department of Transport.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We appreciate that many of our residents rely on bus services for education, work and socialising and that is why we’ve brought forward these proposals that will make travel more affordable and easier for all, both within County Durham and across the region.
Ben Maxfield, Chair of local operators Association NEBus, said: ‘NEbus is delighted to represent operators working closely with Transport North East on the Enhanced Partnership.
“These newly announced plans regarding fares are ambitious and look to provide value for the customer. There is plenty of work to do regarding the detail of these changes to fares, but operators are up for the challenge. Now that a large proportion of the funding for the BSIP has been confirmed, we are excited that more and more plans for bus improvements can start to be announced.”