Hundreds call for ‘essential’ Sunderland bus route to be saved as Go North East service set to be scrapped at weekend

Almost 600 people have signed a petition calling for an ‘essential’ bus service to be saved.

By James Harrison
Friday, 17 May, 2019, 18:17

The 36, which runs between Castletown, in Sunderland, and Chester-le-Street, passing through Houghton-le-Spring and Fencehouses, is due to be cancelled from Sunday.

But transport operator Go North East plans to scrap the route due to declining passenger numbers.

Now, protesters led by Sunderland City Councillor Neil MacKnight have launched a petition calling for it to be saved.

He said: “We only found out about it about four weeks ago and we didn’t even get any notification from Go North East as city councillors.

“It was only when we had it brought to our attention [by residents] that we knew about it.

“We’re going to have problems with pupils getting to school, people making appointments at Sunderland Royal Hospital.”

He added: “It’s an essential service and will affect a lot of people in Houghton.”

According to a statement on the Go North East website, passenger numbers on the route are too low for it to be kept in its ‘current form’.

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However, the company has insisted travellers will still be able to reach the same destinations by other means.

Go North East has been contacted for additional comment.

 

Advice for passengers currently using the number 36 bus states:

Service 8 will be diverted via Castletown, replacing service 36 on this section of route and maintaining four buses per hour between Castletown and Sunderland with service 35.

Most journeys on service X5 will be diverted via Silksworth. This maintains the frequency of service between Silksworth and Sunderland with service 33. This diversion also means the connections between Silksworth and Houghton-le-Spring are maintained.

Between Chester-le-Street, Houghton-le-Spring and Burnside Estate, new service 71 will run.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service