Dudley villagers celebrate Arriva North East bus victory

Residents in Dudley, North Tyneside, reacted with anger after Arriva North East rejected calls to divert a service through their village

Margaret Shaddock, front left, with other Dudley residents, last year
Margaret Shaddock, front left, with other Dudley residents, last year

Campaigners are celebrating after winning their fight to get their village put back on a bus route.

Residents in Dudley, North Tyneside, reacted with anger after Arriva North East rejected calls to divert a service through their village – because it would add three minutes to the journey.

In September last year, the company made changes to its bus network and as a result, the Blyth to Newcastle X5 stopped serving Weetslade Road in Dudley.

Since then, people in the Clarke’s Terrace and Ethel Street area of the village have had to change buses in Burradon, Killingworth or Cramlington to get to Newcastle, or face a lengthy walk to catch another service.

A campaign was launched by residents urging Arriva to re-route the service back through Dudley, arguing that it prevented people from having a direct connection to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Bosses declined the request because it would add three minutes and 0.7 of a mile to the route and the extra minutes could have affected the reliability of the service.

But now they have announced they will add a replacement service which will once again connect the village with Newcastle and the Freeman Hospital. Margaret Shaddock, 66, who is a full-time carer for her disabled son, William, 43, said: “We are delighted with the news.

“We started the campaign as we thought it was ridiculous that they had got rid of the service because it would add three minutes and 0.7 of a mile to the route.

“This was important for us because the X5 goes to the Freeman Hospital. There are many elderly people living here and the diversion would have provided a direct link to the hospital, as well as Newcastle city centre instead of having to change twice.

“I’ve been emailing the bosses at Arriva twice a week since.

“I have always been polite and I’m very happy that they have announced the new route. It shows what can happen if you don’t give up.”

Nick Knox, area managing director of Arriva North East, said: “It is important that we review our networks to ensure that we are consistently serving the majority of the people with the best routes and frequencies.

“We have listened to the concerns of residents regarding the removal of the X5 from Weetslade Road, but have not been in a position to change Service X5 without jeopardising its reliability.

“However, a review of our North Tyneside network has enabled us to introduce Service 52 into Weetslade Road, reinstating links to Newcastle and the Freeman Hospital from September 1 for the residents of Dudley.”

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