Commuters can tell Nexus what they want to see from public transport across Sunderland from today.
The Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive is asking people who live and work in the county what they want from the services it provides on behalf of local councils.
An eight-week consultation launched today covers a range of subjects including maintaining bus shelters and timetables, buses for schools, work and local communities, child fares and specialist services for older and disabled people.
The consultation will allow Nexus to prioritise areas of spending as it seeks to cut costs from next year.
Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: "Nexus is a public body committed to providing the best we can with the funds available.
"From 2017 and in the years that follow we will have less to spend on local services in Tyne and Wear that we provide using funding from local councils.
"We want to understand how people access public transport and what is important to them and their families.”
A guide to services can be found online at www.nexus.org.uk/consultation with a link to survey asking people to consider their importance.
Nexus will use the feedback from consultees to help it prepare proposals for consultation in the autumn, and to put before members of the North East Combined Authority as part of the process to set a budget for 2017-18.
The consultation does not include the basic element of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (the ‘bus pass’ for older and disabled people) enabling travel on buses from 9:30am to 11pm on weekdays and all day at weekends, as Nexus has a statutory legal duty to provide this.
Nexus is also not considering changes to the Metro timetable, as the system is funded from the fares that passengers pay, along with a grant from the Department for Transport, rather than by councils.
Most bus services in Tyne and Wear – around 90% – are also excluded because they are run by private companies, and do not receive local council funding.
Copies of the guide and questionnaire have also been circulated to libraries in Tyne and Wear and are available at Nexus Travelshops. Anyone who has difficulty obtaining a copy in the right format for them can also contact nexus directly on 0191 202 0747.