A NORTH EAST bus company has responded after claims it should not be allowed to operate in County Durham due to a lack of "reliability" in recent weeks.

Arriva has addressed concerns after a Northern Echo reader submitted a letter saying those in their 70s and 80s were among those "waiting hours on end" for a bus.

LETTERS: 'Arriva should not be allowed to operate bus services'

In the letter, the passenger says it had been nothing short of cruel after claiming a number of bus services did not turn up as expected.

But in response, Arriva said that it had suffered with a "significant" number of cancellations due to driver shortages, which was not unique to the business.

A spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, Arriva is currently suffering with a significant number of daily impacted services across the North East, linked directly to driver shortages.

"This is not unique to our business or our industry and is a problem well covered in local and national news at this time.

"It is not a situation we welcome and we’re working hard on driver & engineer recruitment activity, as well as continually reviewing our timetables in line with customer demand.

"We’re proud to serve your communities and we know the crucial role our buses play in keeping people moving, getting to where they need to go every day."

Arriva went on to apologise for the "negative impact" of the shortage on journeys, saying it was grateful for its customers' patience and understanding.

It said: "We always welcome customer feedback, even when it is critical of what we’re delivering.

"Feedback is hugely beneficial in telling us where we need to make improvements.

"Above all else, we’re sorry for any negative impact this situation is having on our customers and we want to assure you all, getting everyone where they need to be as safely and smoothly as possible is our absolute priority.

Read more: Go North East issue statement as DOZENS of further services are left unable to run

"We’re grateful to all our customers for your patience and understanding at this time."

The spokesperson added: "Our North East driver workforce continue to do an excellent job in difficult circumstances and we’re thankful for their ongoing commitment and efforts."

Last night, rival company Go North East was forced to issue a similar statement after dozens of services were unable to run earlier this week.

It issued the statement as bus services including the Angel 21 between Newcastle and Brandon had seen some cancellations.

The company again said it too had been faced with a national driver shortage and short-term increase in those on the sick.

Explaining that it would now be publishing a list of likely cancellations each evening ahead of the following day, it said paper copies were being handed out to colleagues at depots to help advise customers. 


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