£50.8m to be invested into local bus network in the North East

The North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) is to inject £50.8m into the region’s bus network.

This will deliver substantially cheaper multi-modal and regional tickets for adults across Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Northumberland alongside major improvements to road and traffic management systems to speed up every day journeys in congested areas. 

The committee approved the release of Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding at its meeting on Tuesday 18 July which will help to make sustainable travel much more affordable and quicker for millions of passengers a year. 

The region has secured £163.5m in government funding to deliver its ambitious BSIP which aims to make bus travel much more affordable and enjoyable, boosting the number of people travelling by sustainable public transport.  

The JTC will release £17.5m of the funding for the new multi-modal fares including: 

•    A brand-new adult day ticket price for unlimited multi-modal travel by bus, Metro and Ferry in Tyne and Wear for only £6. The existing equivalent is the Network One Day Rover ticket which is currently £9.10 – meaning passengers will save 34% per day of travel.   

•    New adult multi-operator day tickets covering unlimited travel on buses in Northumberland (£5) and County Durham (£4).  

•    A region-wide multi-operator day ticket will be introduced at £6.80 for unlimited travel by bus, Metro and Ferry across all of Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham. Currently the existing equivalent – the North East Explorer ticket costs £12.70 meaning passengers will save 46% on this fare alone.  

•    Extending the benefit of the North East’s new £1 single bus fare for those aged 21 and under – young people will also be able to buy a £3 day ticket for unlimited daily travel by bus, Metro and Ferry.  

Subject to final agreement with bus operators the fares are intended to launch in September, and will run alongside the government’s £2 bus fare cap scheme (in operation until October before then increasing to £2.50.) 

In addition to the major fare schemes, £33.2m will also be invested in bus infrastructure programmes including: 

•    Around £20.25m to deliver bus priority measures in high demand areas which will greatly speed up buses across the region – improving reliability and connectivity for bus users and reducing journey times. 

•    £13.04m investment in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) which consist of technology upgrades at traffic signals which are part of the solution to prioritise buses, making millions of passenger journeys quicker and reducing bus delays by an average of 25% in the areas covered.  

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I am delighted to bring forward this transformational £50.8m investment in our region’s buses which will help make travel significantly more affordable and reliable for millions of public transport journeys each year. The bus network is going through a difficult time at the moment and we’re doing what we can to make it better for passengers.  

“The new range of affordable day tickets we will launch in the near future – including multiple regional and multi-modal options which will help local people save money every day on their travel costs – this really could be life changing. As the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact our residents, I hope this is welcome news and will help more people to enjoy sustainable journeys at an affordable price.  

“Alongside cheaper fares we will also inject a massive £33.2m in new infrastructure programmes which will help to greatly improve journey times on buses in congested areas and reduce delays by an average of 25%. For people who rely on buses to get to work, this is sure to be welcome news and I look forward to the schemes coming forward in the coming months.  

“The North East is determined to deliver a better bus network that works for local people and this is further evidence of our bold ambitions for public transport.” 

Ben Maxfield, Chair of local operators association NEbus, said: “We are excited to welcome the introduction of these new multi modal adult tickets. This is an example of the BSIP investment in our region flowing directly through to the customer, and I hope it will make a real difference to people using public transport in the North East.

“The cheaper fares in combination with improved bus priority and intelligent transport solutions, are set to make bus travel a much more attractive proposition for daily use. The enhanced partnership between operators and Transport North East has been central to securing and delivering these initiatives so far, and that great work is still going strong.”


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