Anger at bus bosses’ plan to axe stops from popular route

CANCELLED ... The number 20 bus, Houghton to Durham.
CANCELLED ... The number 20 bus, Houghton to Durham.
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CONCERNS have been raised after changes to a popular bus service were announced.

The No 20 purple Prince Bishops bus runs from Durham to Sunderland, making 16 stops from Rainton Gate to Houghton.

In order to make savings, bus provider Go North East plans to extend the service from Durham to South Shields, going via Sunderland, replacing the number 35 route.

The move would mean fewer stops within Houghton.

Instead of continuing straight on towards Gillas Lane, buses coming from Durham into Houghton would go left at Rainton Bridge, past NPower and up to Fence Houses then into Houghton.

An online consultation into the plans closed last month and if given approval, the new service routes will begin next month.

Go North East argues that no final decision has been made on the proposals.

Coun Colin Wakefield, who serves Copt Hill ward, said residents are worried about missing out on the service.

He said: “It’s a significant area and there are a lot of elderly people there.

“A lot of them are quite dependent on that bus service.

“The 20 is a greatly appreciated service by everybody you speak to.

“It’s very popular because it’s a direct link for people to Durham or to Sunderland.

“Residents have suggested that the 20 still service the business park and return into Gillas Lane on its current route.

“The road layout would easily support this.

“Can the company please consider this alternative?”

Martin Harris, of Go North East, said: “Feedback on our proposals such as this from Coun Wakefield is important to us – that’s why we run these consultations.

“Ideas such as the one he puts forward are being included with other responses and given serious consideration.

“We won’t shirk difficult decisions that have to be made to achieve essential economies to deal with the effects of cuts in public expenditure. This is not done deal.”

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