Tyne & Wear

Great North Run South Shields bus plan a 'disaster'

Artist's impression of South Shields transport interchange Image copyright South Tyneside Council
Image caption The artist's impression of the new interchange envisages a fashionable crowd of commuters

Stopping buses from using a new transport interchange during the Great North Run will be a "disaster", a bus company has warned.

The new £21m hub at South Shields will be reserved for Metro passengers.

Metro operator Nexus said it was "common sense" to open the interchange to rail passengers this year and introduce buses in later years.

Stagecoach said shutting the bus station would lead to "disruption even more so than usual".

Regional managing director Steve Walker said the company was so worried it had considered cancelling services. However it now plans to attempt pick-ups on Coronation Street instead.

"We're expecting local services will be a disaster on that day," he said.

He also expressed safety concerns over plans for Metro passengers to queue down King Street and across Kepple Street, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The new interchange - shown here in May 2018 - is being built next to the old bus and Metro stations

Metro operator Nexus said "at no point" would anyone be standing in the road and 50 marshals would manage and direct crowds.

Customer services director Huw Lewis said: "It is common sense we build up use of the new interchange for the Great North Run, by opening for Metro this year and then planning to do so for buses in future years. 

"That way we can make sure people arriving and leaving have a comfortable and safe experience throughout their day."

Bus companies usually ran limited services on the day and those could be "easily be accommodated" on Coronation Street, a spokesperson said.

The new interchange is due open in August.

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