Campaigning for a new bus service

STOP PRESS! Funding for the proposed bus service for Newton and Swarland has just come through to Transport North East. NCC will start to commission the service shortly. It is hard to say exactly how long this will take, but barring any further delays, we are hoping for it to be up and running for the school summer holidays. We’ll keep you posted.

Following successful action from SNAC, the County Council have agreed to commission a bespoke twice weekly bus service with one off-peak bus each way to Morpeth on a Tuesday and to Alnwick on a Thursday. This will be in addition to the current NEED service which runs on a Wednesday.

There has been no regular bus service in the Parish for around 10 years, when Arriva withdrew the X15 service due to dwindling passenger number and safety concerns. Arriva have recently confirmed that it is not possible for the X15 to detour off their current route because of safety issues crossing the A1 and timetabling constraints.

However, SNAC’s Bus Use Survey carried out in May 2022 showed a significant level of interest in bus use, particularly if it did not involve walking down Leamington Lane and / or crossing the A1 to get to a bus stop. Many people wanted to use a bus to be ‘more green’ while others felt it would help to enable them continuing to live in the parish. A summary of the findings can be found here.

After meeting with managers from Northumberland County Council and holding a public meeting on September 20th, we can confirm that NCC have agreed to pilot a new service and to work with local residents to help shape it.

The service will call at several locations in Swarland and in Newton on the Moor and will stop at Willowburn / Sainsbury’s, Alnwick Infirmary and the Bus Station, and at the Bus Station in Morpeth.

Thanks to everyone who completed the questionnaire and shared their views about what a service should look like. We’re currently awaiting final confirmation from NCC about the funding and hope to have more information in the new year about when the service will start.

Detailed notes from the public meeting held in September can be found here.