BUS services across the region are set to operate on emergency timetables as of next week due to a drastic fall in customer numbers caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach North East have told The Northern Echo that service reductions are now imminent as a result of latest advice for people to avoid all but essential travel.

Here's what the operators have told us will be happening in your area, what services will look like and what measures they are taking to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 across the region.

Arriva North East

- Bus services will operate a heavily reduced service from Monday with services expected to be cancelled.

- From Friday, it will relax its rules around concessionary passes to allow the vulnerable access shops earlier.

- It will run its buses on a Saturday timetable on 'most routes' where possible.

An Arriva spokesperson said: "In light of the government's latest advice and recommendations, as well as planned school closures, we can confirm as of Monday 23rd March, we will have to reduce the frequency of some services in the local area.

"However, we will still be operating our key routes to ensure customers can continue to access critical services, and we are continuing to tailor our service changes in line with ongoing advice from the Government and public health bodies.

“From today concessionary passes can be used at any time on Arriva bus services. Whilst we recommend current government guidelines should be followed, we want to ensure we are supporting our communities.”

Go North East

- Bus services 'significantly reduced' from Monday and will be running to a Sunday timetable.

- It will continue to run extra morning peak buses, if routes don't have a sunday service a special timetable will operate.

- Concessionary travel pass holders can now travel free of charge at any time in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Norhumberland.

- It is advising customers to use contactless bank cards in place of money to avoid contact.

Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Go North East, said: “We’re doing everything we can in these unprecedented times to keep the wheels moving on our buses, whilst also trying to protect our workforce and secure jobs in the face of a significant downturn in demand for bus travel.

“This revision to our service levels is designed to help us match resources to customer numbers and help ensure buses run reliably under the current situation, giving our customers peace of mind in knowing that their bus will turn up.”

Stagecoach North East 

- Bus services to operate an emergency timetable from Monday with the majority operating a Saturday timetable.

Steve Walker, Managing Director at Stagecoach North East, said: “Along with other bus operators and key sectors, we are working hard to support the national effort to tackle the current challenging situation.

"The safety of our customers and our employees is at the heart of everything we do. We also know that our bus services play a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring key sector personnel get to work.

“Following the latest government advice, we have reviewed our timetables and made temporary changes which reflect the reduced level of travel. Our objective has been to focus resources on where we know they are needed most at this time.

“We are working hard to best maintain essential services, safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of a sector which is central to our economy and communities.

“We will continue to monitor the position, liaise closely with government and other authorities, and respond as appropriate to what is a dynamic situation.”