BUSES are hugely important to the people of the North-East with 162 million bus journeys made each year and now Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness is launching a survey to understand how these journeys can be made safer for everyone.

In order to steer improvements across the region, Kim McGuinness is inviting those who use our buses, as well as those who for whatever reason choose not to, to have their say on how we can improve bus safety for and ensure people feel comfortable climbing on board.

Last year, the PCC’s transport survey found that people want public transport that is not only reliable and affordable, but safe too.

In response to initial concerns raised, the Commissioner’s office secured funding to develop a Safer Transport Northumbria App, with the support of Northumbria Police, Nexus Stagecoach, Go North East and Arriva.

The app was designed to help make it easier for passengers to report any behaviour that makes them, or others, feel uncomfortable when on the bus or Metro such as verbal abuse or racism.

The app is also there for reporting women’s safety concerns after studies found women are ten per cent more likely to feel unsafe than men on urban public transport.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “I want to know what bothers people about buses, and what we can do about it. We’ll be at bus stops and stations throughout the region, speaking to passengers asking them about the things our bus services get right but also where things need to be improved.

“I’ve done public transport surveys in the past and know people want buses that are affordable and reliable, but they also want to know they are safe too and I want to dig deeper into this – the routes, the reliability, the reporting. I know our bus operators haven’t had it easy in recent years with countless cuts to funding and the pandemic, but this is about looking ahead.

“Buses help thousands of passengers travel every day to get to school, work or to the shops. With the cost-of-living crisis only going to get worse, and as one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the country it’s imperative people can access a bus service – a bus servicer that works for them. Family budgets are tighter than ever and our buses have to be an attractive option opening up opportunities.

“I want to represent the voice of local passengers and this is their chance to be heard. I want to look into how we can make journeys safer for all and the more insight we get, the more improvements we can look at making.”

The bus consultation will be taking place at the following locations:

  1. Blyth bus station, 24th May, 10:00 – 12:00
  2. Gateshead Interchange, 25th May, 09:00 – 11:00
  3. Park Lane bus station, 25th May, 14:00 – 16:00

The information gathered will be used to tell operators and tell our police what’s going well and what’s going not so well.

For more information and to complete the survey, please click HERE.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “Having a safe, secure network is a key part of our region’s Transport Plan – our shared vision for how we want our transport network to look and feel by 2035.

“We continue to work with partners to make the bus network safer and I look forward to seeing the results of this consultation in due course. Please take a moment to have your say on this important issue – it’s really important that passengers feel safe.”