More bus services and cheaper fares have been proposed to pave the way for better connectivity throughout County Durham.

New infrastructure, improvements to bus stations and 250 replacement shelters are planned to provide a much-needed boost if they are approved by Durham County Council’s cabinet later this week.

One of the flagship proposals includes new prices including a £1 single fare and £3 regionwide multi-modal day ticket for under 22s. A County Durham multi-operator day ticket would be available for £4; with a two zone multi-modal ticket for £6.50; and a regionwide multi-modal ticket for £6.80.

Infrastructure improvements are centred around nine locations to help improve journey times and reliability. Initially, three of these will be progressed at Coundon Gate roundabout; Durham Road/Whitworth Road in Spennymoor; and the B2688/A167 at Croxdale.

There are also plans for development of additional park and ride facilities as well as ‘pocket’ park and ride - smaller park and ride sites which are established close to existing commercial bus service routes. Site identification is currently taking place along with feasibility work.

Improvements to bus stations at Consett, Peterlee and Stanley are also a priority, including new CCTV and enhanced lighting, in the interests of safety and accessibility. Two hundred and fifty replacement bus shelters are also planned across the county.

A report to be considered by cabinet members also includes increased Sunday services, replacement of commercial routes deemed no longer viable by operators, and routes that are designed to make it easier for people to get to work.

The Northern Echo: Two hundred and fifty replacement bus shelters are planned across the countyTwo hundred and fifty replacement bus shelters are planned across the county (Image: Stuart Boulton)

The schemes will all be delivered by the council as part of a regional Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), with the government having committed more than £160m.

Works planned in County Durham and the wider North East have been welcomed by a national group that represents bus passengers, which says they will “transform bus services across the region.”

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Cllr Elizabeth Scott, cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are putting the money towards laying on more bus services, making it easier for people to travel, be that to work, shop, attend health appointments or for leisure and socialising.

“We will also be introducing good value fares to bring the price of travel down for people which we hope will help in some way with the rising cost of living.

“We hope our plans will benefit not only the travelling public but also the environment by reducing car journeys and therefore carbon emissions.”

Cabinet members will receive an update on the proposal when it meets on Wednesday.