GPNA Meeting with TPS/Manco

Dear Residents

As advertised on the GPNA and Residents Facebook pages, members of GPNA met with the Consortiums travel consultant representative from TPS. Prior to this meeting we forwarded over 70 communications to them from resident’s emails and messages.

The themes around reliability and routes were very strong. Our discussions centred around these points. These are direct extracts of communications from TPS.

  • Reliability. TPS were unaware of reliability issues and solely rely on Go North East feedback. TPS did not contest the validity of our communications and understand the challenge faced by residents who need clearer direction of who/where to send their feedback too (communications were going to ManCo, GPNA, Councillors, MPs, NCC etc).

“Communicating Issues with GNE/NGP – I totally agree that we need a consistent approach to reporting issues.  Moving forward I would like to suggest that residents are encouraged to email GNE at the following address (hello@gonortheast.co.uk) copy in the NGP Management Company  (ngpwebsite@newcastlegreatpark.com) so that we are aware of any issues and I will then follow it up too on an ongoing basis.  I agree that the use of twitter or the online form means it’s harder to maintain a log of issues.  If you could ask residents to always note the date and the time of the journey they are reporting an issue on it makes it easier for Graham and his colleagues to investigate.”

Routes Changes and Future Planning

“One of the key reasons for diverting the service is to generate additional patronage on the service to help offset the financial liability that comes with continuing to provide a service to NGP.  Unlike other parts of the local area (and nationally) bus patronage from NGP is still significantly behind in terms of post pandemic recovery – in part due to the proportion of people who are able to work from home (as opposed to not wanting to travel by bus and using an alternative mode of travel).  There is a fixed pot of funding available to deliver public transport over the coming years so there is a critical need to ensure we explore all opportunities to generate revenue on the service.  NGP demand alone, whilst slowly recovering, would mean the available funding would be expended in a short space of time.  We really want to ensure that we make best use of the funding over the coming years to ensure that the services are commercially viable/sustainable once the funding is expended.  To this end we are looking at a phased approach to additional services that will see: –

a.    Continued operation on a loop – with minor enhancement explained below

b.    Extension to serve Cells A, D and E once the spine road and Roseden Way are completed – potentially from April 2023 STC.

c.    Extension to Kingston Park Road (triggered by recovery of patronage to pre pandemic levels which would allow funding to cover additional vehicles instead of subsidising the existing route.”

As discussed at the meeting a key next step is to provide a service that operates in both directions around the existing loop route.  We are registering this to start from the end of July (a service change date) so that the service will maintain a 15 minute headway but 2 services will operate clockwise and 2 services anticlockwise.  This will ensure people can select a service which offers them a more direct route in either direction (for instance removing the need for residents in Cell C to go round NGP before heading into the city centre and those who get off at the Community Centre will be able to select a direct service home).  This should result in time savings which offset the additional time to serve Jesmond and we hope is a welcome enhancement.  It is likely that the service will be renamed as a QA and QB so that passengers can easily identify their preferred service option and we’ll be producing a new public transport guide prior to the launch.

Summary

To note, we want to see a service that makes substituting the car for the bus an easy decision. There is a lot more work to be done to achieve a better bus service that meets the needs of all residents on the Park. We have further discussions planned with TPS to ensure resident representation is considered in the planning of services and that effective travel surveys are completed and accessible to all.

There is more to come in the next few weeks and months, please be patient as we are busy officers undertaking a lot of work voluntarily. If there are residents on the park that are keen to be involved and support our work, please feel free to message us at communication@gpna.uk.

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