And now – Last minute cancellations of services on the number 10 route many without notice being given.
It is understood that bus services will be disrupted occasionally and this is unavoidable, but at this time there are far too much disruption for residents.
Very late cancellations, sometimes with no notification to intended passengers, and people being stranded late at night or in the morning.
Examples of some of the horror stories –
One resident has said –
‘There are at present numerous Prudhoe residents employed at various retail establishments in Hexham.
They rely upon the number 10 bus service to return to Prudhoe on an evening after their working shift has ended, In recent months the 21:24 and 22:24 late evening service from Hexham to Newcastle has been routinely cancelled on some occasions both services cancelled leaving shift workers with no other option but to wait approx two hours for the 11pm train back to prudhoe as there is no other trains scheduled between slightly after 9pm and 11pm at night, These bus cancellations seem to differ in frequency on a week to week basis with some working weeks better or worse than others, The option of using a taxi service is financially unviable 5 nights a week even on a car share basis mainly in view of the current cost of living crisis.
A common comment from residents- We have tried to liaise with Go northeast to highlight our concerns via the standard complaints procedure but this often to an automated standard response which is not helpful at all.
————-Another Prudhoe resident has said ‘ I had to get the bus from Hexham after work and get off at Horsley then walk home due to a late cancellation’ Another resident said ‘ Early morning bus services are often cancelled without notice, I work in a hospital and I have been late for my work on a few occasions due to this’
A further resident is fearful of losing her job in Newcastle as she cannot be assured of arriving on time.
Another resident who works at Hexham has medical issues which have worsened due to waiting in the cold after services were cancelled without notice.
It has been said that a woman accepted a lift from a unknown man as she was stranded late at night when a service was cancelled.
The stories keep coming –
I’ve had quite few problems
on Friday November 10 I waited in Newcastle from 19:10pm till 20:40 pm for a bus, I complained to go north east about it I got no reply.
Its not the first time it happens regularly, also in September I waited almost 2 hours for a bus from the metro centre to prudhoe, I finished work at 8 pm I got home at 10:20pm. I complained that time to and was told to check short notice cancellations which wasn’t working at the time and to make alternative arrangements where possible. I’ve got no alternative but to get the bus. I pay £110 per month for a service that is failing .
And another –
My grandson has recently started work in hexham finishing at 10.00 p.m in the last two weeks the bus he would get back to prudhoe has been cancelled 4 times. Also the bus from Prudhoe to Hexham has been cancelled. Two weeks ago 2 buses were missing none for 2 hours. We have gone from a 20 min service to this. Can you pass concerns onto Bus Company.
It is affecting work. Hospital appointments and children finishing school.
The No 10 Bus from Hexham to Prudhoe didn’t turn up last night. It arrived late & pulled behind the station. Then left and went down behind and not to the correct stand loads of people were waiting at. I was stranded by myself after my friend had got her taxi to her house in Hexham. There was also a young couple with a 6 month old baby who needed to get back to Stocksfield. The bus stops at the end of their road where the train is a huge hill to walk up in the rain while pushing a pram. Luckily we could get a taxi & share the cost. But with the cost of living crisis this unexpected cost doesn’t help struggling families.
Another concerned parent –
My daughter goes to Newcastle College and also works at ******in Hexham therefore she needs to get the Number 10 bus many times each day. Since June the number of times she’s been left stranded is ridiculous. Often late at night and buses not turning up and meaning she’s late for work, college etc. On a quite a few occasions the bus from Newcastle has not shown up meaning the next one is full and has drove past her at the bus stop! Leaving her stranded. Number 10 at 9:24pm from Hexham last night – not on cancelled list, it was on the tracker until it arrived, bus pulled it to a different part of the bus station and then drove off in opposite direction! Leaving a lot of people stranded with no train until 11pm including 3 ****staff who finish their shift at 9pm and often get left stranded trying to get back to Prudhoe. Bus going to Hexham yesterday arrived early so my daughter just missed it and the next one was late so she ended up late for work.
Not just Prudhoe residents
The buses are a nightmare my hubby had to walk from corbridge to prudhoe (he works in corbridge) because the bus just didn’t turn up didn’t get home till 2.45am to go to bed get up early to go to work the next day it’s just no good I can understand they are short on drivers but when buses don’t turn up without an explaination go ahead northeast used to be brilliant
it was a few weeks ago now it was 11.30 but that didn’t turn up the 10.30 was cancelled so he had no choice but to walk from corbridge to prudhoe. There was another time he walked half way and a none service obis picked him up and brought him home along with some other people because the bus just didn’t turn up it’s a nightmare
Some more snippets –
My work don’t even give us a warning how if we’re late because they just know buses aren’t turning up. At least once a week I’m waiting 2 hours after work for a bus. Myself and everyone I know flags it every-time but never even hear back. Glad hopefully something is getting done.
same with evening number 10 buses from hexham, people left completely stranded.
1 per hour all day everyday for us. My friend drives for go north east and hates it.
He understands the public’s frustration
8/12/22 A visit to Hexham bus station
Following several complaints from Prudhoe residents to me about the no 10 bus services being cancelled at no notice I am at Hexham bus station speaking with the few passengers here about their recent experiences.
If you have experienced difficulties on this route in the last week or so please e mail me.
I am particually concerned about no notice being given of bus cancellations and residents being left with no means of getting home, in such freezing conditions.
-4* at Hexham bus station.
Meeting with Hexham & Corbridge Cllrs discussing no notice / last bus cancelations of the services between Hexham & Prudhoe.
Please e mail me more information if you have been affected by this in the last week.
14/12/22 C Cllr Suzanne Fairless- Aitkin – Hexham East wrote to GNE with the below-
I wonder if I could have the numbers for Hexham and Prudhoe cancellations over the last month, and how many passengers were stranded?
I also ask if posters/notices could be put up around the station regarding who to call (and if they can claim refunds/emergency transport funds) – especially if this is the last bus and the passengers are stranded late and in the cold. I think this would really help reassure your customers and our residents. An emergency mini-bus to pick up those people would be ideal, but I can imagine if it is a staffing issue then this would not work.
Another bus horror story I’m afraid, I finished work at 8pm lastnight and was surprised to see my work colleague still waiting at the bus station who finished her shift at 7pm , the earlier bus arrived at hexham late and then went out of service not making the return journey towards Newcastle, there were numerous other people waiting at the station including a young mother and baby who I was informed was forced to visit a local shop to feed her baby due to the bitter cold as the station waiting room was closed she had also been waiting at the station for some considerable time , we waited until approx 8:45 pm then were forced to arrange a taxi share back to prudhoe with myself assisting the young mother to disassemble her pushchair to be able to get it in the taxis boot , I dread to think how long she would of waited in Hexham for a bus with her baby if myself and my work colleague were not at the station and not able to assist her in getting back to prudhoe, previous to this there have been other nights whereby the bus has been late then taken out of service leading to excessive waiting times in the extreme cold.
Update from GNE 19/12/22
In recent weeks we have operated around 98% of journeys on service 10. Clearly, we aim to operate 100% of our mileage as we know that any missing trip can have a significant impact on customers, especially at times when the service is running at a lower frequency.
However, it is not always possible to operate 100% of journeys, often due to factors outside of our contract. As is usual at this time of year, traffic congestion is significantly worse, which has a large impact on the reliability of services, in particular those which operate via Metrocentre and Newcastle City Centre such as service 10. Any support you can give in ensuring bus priority measures are put in place to provide reliable journeys would be much appreciated.
The other element of trips not operating is due to driver availability. This is a problem affecting not just Go North East, but other bus operators in the North East and across the UK as a whole. We are working hard to resolve this issue with many actions in place, including enhanced rates of pay and increased recruitment of new drivers. Our efforts are proving successful with more new drivers entering service at our Riverside depot, where service 10 operates from. However, as I am sure you can imagine, it takes time to recruit and train new drivers.
Whilst we continue to have a shortage of drivers, we are doing everything that we can to operate all of our journeys, including paying overtime, moving drivers between different sites, and hiring in other bus companies. However, when these options have been exhausted unfortunately there are still times where journeys do need to be cancelled. In this situation, the local teams work very hard to ensure that consecutive journeys are not cancelled, and that first and last buses operate so that people are not left stranded. To assist customers with their journey and to try to avoid longer-than-usual waits in this weather, we publicise in advance which journeys will be cancelled. This can be viewed on our website at https://www.gonortheast.co.uk/short-notice-cancellations, which is updated at 5pm the day before, so that customers can make alternative arrangements if it is possible for them to do so.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused to local residents by this situation, but please be assured we are doing everything we can to resolve it and to operate a high quality, reliable service.
Another approach to GNE resulted in the below
Update from GNE 22/12/22
Due to a shortage of bus drivers, which is affecting not just Go North East but the whole bus industry, a small number of journeys may be unable to operate on some days. We publicise in advance any journeys which are cancelled so that customers can make alternative arrangements if possible, but we understand the inconvenience caused and apologise for this. We are working hard to improve the situation, with many actions in place including increased rates of pay and extra recruitment of new drivers. This has already delivered success, with the number of journeys being cancelled reducing significantly in recent weeks. We will continue to work as hard as we can to resolve the situation
Update 23/12/22 From a bus user.
Last night the 23.24 was cancelled at very short notice. A notification was put on the twitter page which Its concerning that the journeys that they are cancelling are late night journeys. The 23.24 is the last Service 10 from Hexham Bus Station which having been on it myself multiple times can get very busy,
County Councillor Gordon Stewart who represents Prudhoe South said’ These are serious matters impacting upon residents wishing to travel on what are major bus routes, people are fearful for their jobs and Livelihoods’
He added ‘ I also have concerns about residents welfare being stranded and walking long distances alone late at night or during the early mornings’
Cllr Stewart called upon the bus operator to take swift action ‘ I appreciate the company is trying to recruit additional drivers but these matters are too serious to wait and ask that interim measures are put in place to support their customers such as providing mini bus transport, this could be done with local partners.
I am also being informed that not all cancellations are being placed onto the operators website.
Cllr Stewart met with a senior member of the bus company along with a representative from Guy Opperman MP’s office.
The operator acknowledged the issues raised but said there were problems with recruitment of drivers, and they had now increased the salary offered.
Although 20 drivers have recently been recruited more are needed.
The local agreement with a local mini bus operator was suggested but to date Go North East has not put this in place.
Govt announces more cash into the bus services – This time more green buses.