BUS operator Go North East is asking whether members of the public in the North East have the ‘bus factor’ after it is set to hold a series of free-to-enter, fun and no obligation ‘drive a bus' obstacle course events in Durham and Sunderland.

Anyone who has held a valid car driving licence for at least a year can head along and compete in the events, which will be held over the next couple of weeks.

There will be a ‘Top Gear’ style leader board and prizes for the best-placed drivers.

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Designed as a fun activity to engage with the North East's drivers, contestants will be supervised by experienced bus instructors in specially adapted training buses to navigate the driving skills test.

There is no need to pre-book, and each drive will last around 15 minutes.

The Go North East Bus Factor driving skills competitions will take place at County Hall, Durham on June 19 – 10am until 2pm and Stadium of Light, Sunderland on 3 July – 10am until 2pm

Martijn Gilbert, Go North East's managing director, has upped the ante in the build-up to the events, by saying that as well as having fun, the event is part of promoting a serious message about driving.

The Northern Echo: Go North East are running a 'bus factor' event. Picture: GO NORTH EASTGo North East are running a 'bus factor' event. Picture: GO NORTH EAST

He said: "Everyone likes to think they're a good driver, so we've put together a fun event that supersizes the challenge and will really put people to the test.

“As fun as we are sure it will be, there's a serious message here about promoting road safety and raising awareness of the important role of bus drivers and how large vehicles manoeuvre on our roads.

He added: “We're sure there will be a few people who, after the no-obligation experience, might be tempted to consider taking their skills a step further by joining us as a trainee bus driver, and we have a number of vacancies for these important roles across the North East.

“Though, this isn't solely a recruitment event so if you're free and think you're good enough then pop down and come and see what it’s like to drive a bus."

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