Joseph White reports on:

Young Labour’s public transport street stall

On the whole the response to our recent Hexham Saturday street stall on public transport was positive and supportive. We mainly spoke to people about local transport issues, such as the lack of bus services in rural and isolated communities in the Tyne Valley.

In particular we were interested to hear the opinions of two bus drivers, both working on local routes who explained that it is not down to the bus companies alone to extend bus routes. Due to funding constraints it is difficult to extend bus routes to incorporate smaller communities however much employees would like. One of the drivers admitted that there are not enough bus services to serve rural communities in Northumberland and the other driver whilst on a 3 hour break, said that time could be organised more efficiently to incorporate extra services.

Response from the wider public was also positive. We spoke to many older residents, for whom public transport was, it seems, a major issue. The vast majority were dissatisfied with public transport in the area and suggested that there could be improvement in:

  • bus frequency
  • the timings of buses
  • the locations that buses travel to

There were suggestions that bus company’s could work harder to make buses more usable for people with disabilities. One lady said it was difficult to get her wheelchair onto the bus. Many people said that they did not use the bus as frequently as they would like. When asked why – many suggested that there aren’t enough busses to serve their needs. What’s more – many people said that they would take the bus more often if services were sufficient to meet their requirements.