A NUMBER of bus services in County Durham will see timetables 'temporarily' changed later this week due to driver shortages.

Go North East has confirmed some bus services including the Angel 21 will be affected as temporary timetables come in from Saturday.

The company has said it is suffering from a driver shortage, which has said is the case nationally, and from an increase in absences as a result of sickness.

Read more: Go North East respond as drivers left 'fuming' over latest pay offer

The company has published a list of changes to timetables as it said will allow for reduced staffing levels and reduce the number of on-the-day cancellations.

These are the services affected:

- Angel 21

This service will be reduced in frequency from every 7-8 minutes to every ten between Newcastle, Gateshead, Low Fell, Birtley and Chester-le-Street.

Journeys will continue beyond Chester-le-Street to Durham and Brandon every 30 minutes, at the same times they run now.

Read more: Gateshead Council agrees to CANCEL hundreds of Askew Road bus lane fines

At peak times on weekdays, there will still be a bus every 7-8 minutes between Newcastle and Chester-le-Street.

- X-lines X1

This service will be reduced in frequency from every 12 minutes to every 15 between Newcastle, Gateshead, Washington Galleries, Houghton-le-Spring and Easington Lane.

Journeys will continue beyond Easington Lane to Peterlee or Dalton Park every 30 minutes.

- Services 6 and X72

There will also be some minor changes to the evening timetables on services 6 and X-lines X72 from 25 September, with some journeys re-timed by up to 4 minutes to provide better connections between these services at Stanley Bus Station.

Other services affected

Go North East said that it has also suspended a number of routes, which were brought in seasonally and reflected demand.

It said that demand for the following services has since reduced following the end of the summer holidays:

- Seasider X11

- Beamish Museum Express B1

- NewcastleGateshead Toon Tour

A spokesperson said: "We’d like to thank everyone who has travelled with us on these services over the summer, and we’re hopeful to reinstate them again next year for the summer season."

The timetable changes follow on from reports earlier this month that Go North East drivers had been left "fuming" over the company's latest pay offer.

The Northern Echo was told that drivers had been offered a 3.2 percent rise, but staggered over the course of this year and next, while pay rates for new starters went up by around ten percent immediately.

Read more: Go North East respond as drivers left 'fuming' over latest pay offer

At the time, the company admitted it had been unable to recruit the desired number of new starters due to Covid, and that it was necessary to make entry-level pay rates more competitive as a result.

But workers said there remained ill-feeling over the latest pay offer as they were told it would not be paid in full until next April.

Read more: Stagecoach bus drivers to vote on industrial action over pay

Earlier this week, it emerged more than 800 drivers working for Stagecoach North East were set to vote on strike action following a pay offer.


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