Shoppers up in arms as bus route is axed

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shoppers in Stakeford will find it harder to get their groceries now a bus service has been scrapped.

Operator Arriva North East has withdrawn its hourly X18 service between Ashington and Newcastle due to low passenger numbers.

Alternative services have been provided to cover much of the route, but not a stretch between Stakeford and Morpeth.

That is causing problems for residents of the Wansbeck Estate in Stakeford as they are used to travelling to Morpeth for their shopping.

Passenger Anne Middlemiss, of Hillcrest Avenue, said: “They just took it off with no consultation, and they haven’t asked passengers anything about it.

“There is a bus from Guide Post to Morpeth, and that is fair enough if you can walk, but from the bus stop in Stakeford up to Guide Post it is a mile, which is no good if you have shopping to carry or you can’t walk very far.

“I can’t understand why they can’t divert one of the other buses to the estate so we can get there.”

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade chairman John Beynon said: “We have written to Arriva expressing our concerns because we have been approached by a number of elderly people asking if we can help them.

“There are other routes to cover most of the lost service, but there is nothing between Stakeford and Morpeth so we still have concerns.”

Arriva North East managing director Nigel Featham, pictured, said: “Service X18 had ceased to be commercially viable due to low passenger numbers, increased fuel prices and a cut in fuel duty rebate.

“Most sections of the route are still covered by alternative services.

“There is only a small section of route at Stakeford which would see passengers need to make a bus change to reach their destination.”