New £1 bus fare for young people and cheaper multi-operator adult tickets on the way


Young people in the North East are set to benefit from cheaper bus fares under the region’s new Enhanced Partnership, including a new £1 single bus fare for all under 22s on any bus service in the region.

Adults across the region will also benefit from new or lower-priced multi-operator daily tickets as part of the region’s Enhanced Partnership (EP) – a new formal agreement between bus operators and local authorities which was approved by the North East Joint Transport Committee today (21 March). The EP covers Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.

Following the publication of the North East Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) in 2021, and the region’s funding award of £163.5 million, £118m of which was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper in early March, the region has now agreed to enter into the formal partnership which will enable multi-million-pound improvements such as:

  • a new £1 fare for single bus journeys for under 22s, and a £3 daily ticket for under 22s offering unlimited travel on bus, Metro and Ferry throughout the region. These tickets will be some of the first fare initiatives to launch under the new EP and will be available for passengers shortly.
  • new affordable adult daily tickets for unlimited travel by bus in County Durham (£4) and Northumberland (£5), and lower-priced daily tickets for unlimited bus, Metro and Ferry travel in Tyne and Wear (£6) and region-wide (£6.80).  support for care experienced young people across the North East (Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham). Timings for the launch of these tickets will be confirmed later this Spring.
  • many new bus services and improved services, connecting communities and improving frequencies/operating hours for existing services.
  • a new Park & Ride site to help more people travel sustainably for part of their journey.
  • additional bus priority measures on the busiest corridors throughout the region to improve bus punctuality and journey times.
  • enhanced support for rural communities including ‘Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) and pop-up ‘Pocket Park & Ride – linking remote rural areas to local bus services.
  • updated bus stops and stations and more.

All initiatives are subject to funding by the Department of Transport, and sit alongside national policy announcements such as the Government’s own separate plan to introduce a £2 adult bus fare cap between January and June 2023.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “I’m delighted to share our plans for cheaper tickets in the North East which will make millions of journeys cheaper and more sustainable. This is a result of the new Enhanced Partnership which was approved by the North East Joint Transport Committee today and is great news for passengers region-wide.

“The new £1 fare for under 22s will help many thousands of young people travel affordably and sustainably for work, education and leisure – opening up many new opportunities for young people which could be life-changing. Alongside this we are unveiling further details on new unlimited travel tickets for Durham, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear which will provide considerable cost-savings for local people – helping to ensure our public transport network is an appealing sustainable choice for all.

“Delivery of the initiatives within the BSIP will make big improvements to bus services locally. Plans have been carefully drawn up in partnership with local authorities and operators, to ensure that buses will be cheaper, faster and more reliable, with many new services, improved bus stops and stations and enhanced support for our most rural communities.

“If we are to truly tackle climate change and improve air quality in our towns and cities, we must welcome more people back to our bus network. We can only do this if the bus is an appealing, safe and a genuinely affordable alternative to the car, so that’s what we will deliver for the people of the North East with our BSIP funding.”

Leader of Northumberland County Council Councillor Glen Sanderson, said: “This multi-million pound funding is great news for the region.

“Bus services are vital for many people in Northumberland, particularly for those who don’t have access to their own vehicles.

“As part of our green agenda we would always encourage people to use public transport where they can and these new initiatives are welcome in attracting more residents and visitors onto the bus network.

“While details still have to be worked out, the prospect of more services and improved links for those in rural communities is great news for the county.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It is great news that it will be more affordable for young people in our city to get around by bus, especially as many people are facing financial challenges at the moment.

“We know that many people in Sunderland already rely on public transport to get to their place of work or education, and we want to encourage more people to choose it instead of driving as we strive for a cleaner and greener city. This partnership and reduced fares will make travelling by public transport more appealing and help towards our sustainability goals.”

Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This is fantastic news for bus users across South Tyneside and the wider region.

“The new flat rate for young people and multi-operator ticketing for adults will make bus travel more affordable for people to get around, whether for leisure, education or work, as well as hopefully increase the use of buses as a greener, healthier and more sustainable travel choice. This in turn supports our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions.

“The Enhanced Partnership between councils and bus operators is a positive step in delivering major improvements for bus passengers. I’m delighted to see this agreed for our region.”

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Dame Norma Redfearn DBE, said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to announce our plans bringing cheaper bus fares to North Tyneside and across the North East.

“These improvements are something our residents have asked us to prioritise as our bus networks play a major part in their lives every day. They use them to get to places of work and education, as well as being a key part of their social lives – so this work can have a massive impact on many levels.

“On top of this, we always encourage the use of sustainable travel options and making our bus networks more accessible to everyone will support us further as we work towards being carbon net-zero in North Tyneside by 2030.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We appreciate that many of our residents rely on bus services for education, work and socialising and that is why we’ve brought forward these proposals that will make travel more affordable and easier for all, both within County Durham and across the region.

“Our proposals are also about how we can improve services, including more demand responsive transport, to make using the bus for work and leisure easier and more convenient.

“We’re pleased that the new Enhanced Partnership is in place which will allow us to build on our existing relationships with providers and ensure that between us we offer passengers the best range of transport options possible.”

Cllr Nick Kemp, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We know that many of our residents are being hit hard by the cost of living crisis and supporting people through this is an important priority for us.

“Through our newly-launched inclusive economic strategy for Newcastle, we are working with partners across the city to ensure that wealth and opportunities are shared by all residents.

“A key part of this is about providing access to jobs, training and education opportunities through reliable and affordable public transport services. This is particularly important for young people who I’m delighted will benefit from the cheaper fares through the region’s new bus partnership that I have agreed today.

“It’s also excellent news to see that a scheme offering free travel to young care leavers, which was piloted and proved very successful in Newcastle, is to be extended across the region.

“It’s more important than ever that we have a public transport network that meets people’s needs, supports their ambitions and helps them to succeed, so today’s announcement is very welcome news that will hopefully bring far-reaching benefits to many.”

Ben Maxfield, Chair of local operators Association NEBus, said: ‘NEbus is delighted to represent operators working closely with Transport North East on the Enhanced Partnership.

“These newly announced plans regarding fares are ambitious and look to provide value for the customer. There is plenty of work to do regarding the detail of these changes to fares, but operators are up for the challenge. Now that a large proportion of the funding for the BSIP has been confirmed, we are excited that more and more plans for bus improvements can start to be announced.”

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