A BUS company is to restore services to a 'normal' level of service from next week with existing timetables expected to return.

Go North East, which reduced its services to 40 percent of normal levels at the beginning of lockdown, announced the return of normal service on Tuesday.

The firm runs services between Newcastle, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Teesside, but had reduced the frequency of services following a drop in demand.

However, Go North East said from next week, in line with government guidance, its buses would start returning to 'normal.'

It said: "From Monday 1 June, in line with guidance from the government, our buses will start returning to what can be considered our ‘normal’ level of service, with changes to some services that are listed below our COVID-19 travel advice.

"We have also worked hard to protect journeys introduced following customer feedback on key worker shift times at the start of the crisis.

"Services that aren’t listed below will return to timetables that are similar to their pre-coronavirus times on weekdays, although on many services evening frequencies will be reduced due to the continued closure of leisure and entertainment venues.

"Services on weekends will also run to special timetables."

However, some passengers have raised concerns over the introduction of 'normal' service levels.

On social media, one passenger said: "(It) Would help if you told bus drivers not to let so many people on buses.

"(It was) impossible to keep two-metre distance this morning, fine when get on the bus until you get so far through journey and letting numerous amounts of people on."

However, the firm said it would continue to "monitor" the number of passengers on each service.

It said it had strategically positioned spare buses in key locations to assist with any crowding in the context of social distancing on board.

Earlier this month, Martijn Gilbert, managing director, said: “After last night’s announcement, we’re continuing to run our services for key worker journeys and essential travel.

“It is expected that a combination of those who can work from home continuing to do so, and those who can travel by other modes such as walking and cycling avoiding public transport,  that it will keep capacity free for those with no other travel choices.

“This will enable us to continue with social distancing arrangements on board our services, with strategically placed spare buses across the region and daily journey by journey checks also being carried out, in addition to enhanced cleaning.”